Filed Under Recreation

Cumberland Pool

Opened in 1927, Cumberland Pool began its life just as Cleveland Heights was maturing into a city. In 1925, residents approved $75,000 in bonds for the construction of the Cumberland park, pool, and bathhouse. World-renowned landscape architect and Cleveland Heights resident A.D. Taylor (who also worked on the design of Forest Hill Park) laid out the plan for Cumberland Park several years prior to the passing of the bond issue. Construction on the pool began in July 1926 and wrapped up in March of the following year. Designed by architect William Robert Purcell, the brick and limestone Cumberland Pool bathhouse wrapped a typical bathhouse layout in a colonial design.

Cumberland Pool opened with a water carnival featuring diving stunts and races that was deemed by one commentator to be "the biggest municipal event of 1927." Indeed, the annual water carnival became the pool's signature event. The following year's carnival, for instance, featured "keen competition among the best swimmers of Greater Cleveland" in over thirty different events and exhibitions. In the 1930s and 1940s, Cumberland Pool drew massive crowds to witness its popular diving competitions as well. In the off-season, the pool parking lot was turned into a community ice skating rink for many years. Cumberland Pool remains one of the places that defines Cleveland Heights today, as new generations of city residents enjoy its many pleasures.

Audio

55 Years of Fun Ralph Brody describes his love for Cumberland Park, which he has visited ever since his childhood. Source: Courtesy of City of Cleveland Heights
"There Was No Fooling Around" Herbert Jakob recalls going to Cumberland Pool during his youth, mentioning the strict lifeguards on duty at the pool. Source: Courtesy of City of Cleveland Heights
Not So Fond Memories Loren Weiss recalls the aspects of Cumberland Pool that he did not enjoy as a kid. Source: Courtesy of City of Cleveland Heights

Images

Cumberland Pool, Circa 1930 A crowd of youngsters (perhaps awaiting the end of rest period?) at the Cumberland Pool, circa 1930. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Cumberland Pool, 1937 Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Pool Scene, 1927 Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Construction, 1927 Construction on the Cumberland Pool and bathhouse began in July 1926 and finished the following spring. In the background of this photograph are houses along Euclid Heights Boulevard. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Diving Show, August 1944 Stubby Kruger dives off of a specially constructed platform at Cumberland Pool as part of his "water comedy" show, advertised on the banner behind him. Kruger was an Olympic swimmer and diver in the 1920s before traveling the country as a water comedian and working in Hollywood as an actor and stuntman. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Lifeguards, Circa 1950s Lifeguards at the Cumberland Pool make a human pyramid in front of the bathhouse in this photograph from the 1950s. The back of the photograph reads: "Me (Betty Jackman on top), Pat Pugsley, Peg Sabin, Janet Bulstein, Mickey Barnett, Joe Harley, Murray Snider, Tyler Johnson (and) Maye Langer." Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Ice Skating, 1968 Ice skating in the parking lot of Cumberland Park Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society

Location

1740 Cumberland Rd, Cleveland, OH 44118

Metadata

Michael Rotman, “Cumberland Pool,” Cleveland Historical, accessed December 8, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/195.