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Early fun at the Hot Springs Pool

Willa Soncarty
Frontier Historical Society and Museum

From its construction, the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool welcomed guests from around the world. Its waters were said to hold healing properties, while the pool itself offered recreation. With recreation in mind, the pool’s owners added a new attraction in 1892. That attraction came in the form of a toboggan slide.

Work on the slide began that August. Built on the west end of the pool, the slide stood 16 feet in height. The sides were curved, and an oil cloth covered the slide’s boards. A stream of cold water ran over the oil cloth, providing a smooth sliding surface and propelling the user into the depths of the warm pool waters.

By Aug. 19, the toboggan slide was in use. Its popularity was immediate. Exclamations of joy emulated from the pool grounds as swimmers swished down the slide.



Word of the slide’s pleasures spread far and wide, reaching the ears of John Lowell, of Boston. When Lowell arrived in Glenwood Springs on Aug. 30, he wasted no time getting to the pool. Donning a suit he became the first in his party to climb the steep steps to the slide’s top.

However, there was a problem Lowell did not see.



That day, blasting to create the new vapor cave just east of the pool dislodged a rock. This falling rock broke a water main, cutting off the water supply to the slide. Without constant water, the slide’s oil cloth dried in the August sun.

Lowell launched himself down the chute. Described as “a streak of blue blazes,” the friction created by the hot covering wore a hole in the seat of his bathing suit. Mr. Lowell’s exposed derriere was raw before he reached the pool’s waters.

Undoubtedly, John Lowell stood for a few days afterward as he told the story of his first toboggan slide ride.

“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs.


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