Lost Memphis: Clearpool

I found this old postcard at an estate sale, and I keep it propped up on my desk during these miserably hot summer days, because just looking at it makes me feel cooler.

Not that many years ago, we had a choice of huge swimming pools and bathing beaches around town: Clearpool, Rainbow Lake, the Fairgrounds pool, and just across the state line, Maywood, the "Beach Within Reach" with its genuine white Florida sand beaches.

It's hard to believe that a place as Hades-hot as Memphis couldn't keep these pools open, but each one is gone.

Reader Comments:
Jul 23, 2012 02:59 pm
 Posted by  warbirdali

I bet that is a young Vance at the front with 5 bathing beauties?

Jul 23, 2012 07:10 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I don't know this for sure, but I think integration killed Clearpool and Rainbow Lake - back then, white southerners would rather swelter than integrate. Sad.

Maywood hung on into the 1980's I think. It was great because the water was spring fed and COLD, even at the end of July.

Jul 24, 2012 07:37 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Clearpool was damned cold too--all the time.

Jul 24, 2012 10:20 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

(Before my time) ClearPool was oval shaped. Village Hardware had a picture of it on display after they moved from Parkway Village to Capleville. I'm not sure when they changed it.

Jul 24, 2012 10:22 am
 Posted by  Vance Lauderdale

Actually, Maywood stayed open until about 10 years ago, or thereabouts. I went there on its very last day, but can't recall the exact date. Not a trace of it today. The owners filled in the big pool, scraped away all the structures, and built houses on the site.

Jul 24, 2012 02:37 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The pool was oval until early 50's, 3 artesian wells fed the pool, yes it was nice and cold. They would drop the water levels and top back off, just to keep it cool. I can still remember the smell of the burgers from the grill, once in a while to this day if someone is outside grilling and if its just right, I have a flashback to the Clearpool grill, and remember the cold wet floor on my bare feet.

Jul 24, 2012 04:41 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/seventy-years-down-the-drain/Content?oid=1111838 Looks like it probably closed in 2003. Sad....

Jul 24, 2012 05:01 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I also remember a place off Madison near Cooper called East End. It had a large pool and a skating rink., You could get there on the #2 Fairgrounds line. To get to Rainbow you had to ride to the end of the Lamar line and walk about a half mile. Clearpool and Maywood could only be reached by car.

Jul 27, 2012 11:52 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

There is a Clearpool Circle Road off of Lamar Avenue in southeast Memphis. Maybe the pool was located here:


God bless,


Jul 27, 2012 03:53 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Addresses, intersections, etc. would be a big improvement in Vance's strolls down memory lane.

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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