The Salt Water Natatorium

The Salt Water natatorium was a happy accident caused by Mayor Forsythe. The good mayor had authorized drilling in the Monroe park to look for oil in 1909. Instead, the rig hit a lot of salt water and a little natural gas. Someone lit the gas and it was a novelty to come see water and fire coming out of the same pipe. Anyone else would have covered the hole and said, “Better luck next time!” Not mayor Forsythe. Instead, he had city workers dig a large hole and line it with sand. The water was used to fill the hole and the natural gas they found was used to light the pool at night. It became a huge tourist draw and Monroe capitalized on it. It was thought the water had healing properties. People came from miles and miles away to swim away their ailments! Unfortunately, the 1932 flood spelled doom for the Natatorium. It was covered over by the levee.

The above postcard shows the big slide at the pool along with several bathers. You can see the lampposts that were used to light the pool and a small barn with a trolley car parked in it on the left.

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