93 years ago today, history of swimming began in the City of Fort Lauderdale with the Casino pool…
93 years ago today, on January 29, 1928, the City of Fort Lauderdale dedicated the Las Olas Casino Pool (1928-1967), the first Olympic-sized swimming pool in the State of Florida and consequently launchedFort Lauderdale as a tourist destination. Our community would forever be famous for swimming!
Located directly on the beach at what is now known as D.C. Alexander Park, just south of Las Olas Boulevard, this beautiful Spanish-style facility was engineered by Clifford Root and filled twice a week with salt water directly from the Atlantic Ocean. The Casino Pool was home to the nation’s top swimmers for decades, namely, Katherine Rawls, Fort Lauderdale’s first celebrity of sport and international athletic ambassador.
Records indicate the pool cost $125,000, and measured 50.38 meters by 18.3 meters (165 feet long and 60 feet wide / 55 yards by 20 yards).
The first concrete was poured on November 27, 1927. Considering the number of holidays in this season and that no night was done, this was a record time for constructing a building of this size and type.
Costing approximately $125,000 to build, the Las Olas Casino was 165 feet long and 60 feet wide with 12 lanes requiring 422,000 of salt water from the Atlantic Ocean to fill.
Locker rooms were located underneath the pool
Bleacher on one side, children’s wading pool, pavilion and veranda facing the ocean
Spanish minaret tower was only used at night when flood lights were needed
The volunteer Red Cross Lifesaving Corp of Fort Lauderdale had a special dressing room and club room
Concession stand located in the northeast corner of the venue was operated by the Fort Lauderdale Service Company, RC Henderson
Architect – Francis Abreu
Contractor – John Olsson
Plumbing – Weidmueller & Schlemmer
Wrought Iron – Ogden-Langmead
Lumber – Fort Lauderdale Lumber
Gate City Sash & Door
Fort Lauderdale Mercantile
Raymond-Clopeck Hardware Co.
The Casino Pool remained at the forefront of the swimming scene for nearly half a century, and witnessed a great deal of history. In 1965 the City built a 5-acre man-made peninsula to house a new aquatic center followed by the International Swimming Hall of Fame dedication in 1968. Today, continuing the great tradition of aquatic sports, plans are underway for improvements at the aquatic center that will enrich our community and inspire new generations of swimmers and divers.