Wayne's Long-Ago Pool Made Historic Splash: Preserving the Memory of a Wonder ofIts DayPosted on: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 03:00 CDTBy Jeff Price, The Philadelphia InquirerSep. 27--Over the years, memories of the famous, but short-lived, Wayne Natatoriumof the late 1800s have been stoked by nostalgic newspaper articles.The largest pool in the United States! Maybe in the world!Yet Wayne has little to show for those remembrances. And few people outside thehistoric preservation business know that although the pool -- which was just northof the Main Line tracks near the heart of town -- is long gone, concrete evidenceof its existence survives: a residence at 228 Willow Ave. that was once itsclubhouse.Now there is a move afoot to let everyone in on the secret of what once was one ofWayne's biggest attractions, a 500-foot-long, 100-foot-wide inground outdoor poolthat hosted swimming championships and drew athletes from as far away asCalifornia.Earlier this month, Beverlee Barnes, chairwoman of the Radnor Township Historicaland Architectural Review Board, was out walking along Willow Avenue, which in 1895was likely the pool's spectator viewing platform.As Barnes took notes, she imagined the reaction of someone learning that themodest detached and twin houses are sitting on a historic site: "Wow! A block-longswimming pool in what is now all-residential Wayne. Pretty fascinating."Barnes had been inspired by e-mails sent by three anonymous citizens, oneencouraging her not to let Radnor forget "the historic Wayne Natatorium." SoBarnes, touring the area with Ted Pollard, president of the Radnor HistoricalSociety, was working "to document whatever is here to tell the story for futuregenerations."The most likely actions, she said, are to add the two-story clubhouse, whichhoused the women's locker room and the office and apartment of the pool manager,to the township's 2003 Historical Resource Survey and to install a historicalmarker."Now there is no ordinance in place that would protect this house from beingaltered or demolished," she said, but once the property is added to the survey, itcould someday be protected by a historic preservation ordinance.Just last month the house changed hands, and Mary Giovanni of Wayne Realty saidyesterday that new owner Brian Hipwell has begun a renovation that will be"beautiful" when finished.Even so, entry on the National Register of Historic Places is unlikely, Barnessaid, because that prestigious list "is only interested in places that totallyexist now."What is gone but what must have been an inspiring sight was a pool the length ofnearly two football fields and more than half the width. Eight feet deep at theclubhouse end and 2 feet deep at its shallowest, the pool was fed by the adjacentGulph Creek.