From the Archives – A Century of Public Pools in Yakima

Yakima’s 107 year swimming pool tradition

As Yakima looks to the future of Lions Pool and the new Aquatic Center, take a look at the history of indoor swimming pools in Yakima, from the archives at Yakima Valley Libraries.




The Natatorium – 201 S. 6th Ave, North Yakima, WA. Photo from the Relander Collection at Yakima Valley Libraries. 2002-850-191.


The Artesian Mineral Springs Natatorium, located on the corner of 6th Ave. South and West Walnut, was the first indoor swimming pool in Yakima. (A Natatorium is a building that contains a swimming pool.) Proprietor John D. Clemmer (1861-1941) opened the 45′ x 90′ facility to the public in 1912.




John Clemmer seated in a carriage observes construction of the Natatorium during the winter of 1911. Photo from the Relander Collection at Yakima Valley Libraries, 2002-850-183.
Natatorium swimmers. Note the sign forbidding “Boisterous Conduct.” Photo from the Relander Collection at Yakima Valley Libraries, 2002-850-184.
Learn to Swim week
“Learn to Swim” week at the Natatorium, 1914. Photo from the Relander Collection at Yakima Valley Libraries, 2002-850-190.










Postcard from the Relander Collection at Yakima Valley Libraries. 2002-850-194.



The Natatorium  was an exceptional public swimming pool for that time, equipped with diving boards, locker rooms and electric hair dryers.  The pool was refilled with fresh water every night from an artesian well. It operated for 25 years, closing in 1937.  Click here for more information about the Natatorium.




Lions Pool
City of Yakima and Lions Club outdoor pool at Spruce and 5th Avenue, present day parking lot. Post card from Yakima Valley Museum, Ron Ott collection 2002-131-167.
Natatorium news clipping
Dedication of the remodeled Natatorium. June 9, 1933, Yakima Daily Herald.












In 1933 the City of Yakima and the Lions Club financed construction of a new outdoor swimming pool at Lions Park on the corner of 5th Ave. South and West Spruce, described in the Yakima Daily Republic as the “largest open air tank in Central Washington”. It was a popular recreational attraction until it was replaced in 1973 by a new indoor/outdoor swimming facility financed by a voter approved bond issue.




Lions pool
Lions Pool, Yakima WA. Photo by Ruben Barajas Gonzales.

In 1986 Lions Pool was converted into a permanent indoor public swimming pool that continues to serve the community today.

Year around public pools remain attractive to visitors and residents, alike. Yakima’s Lions Pool is one of at least 28 public swimming pools in the State of Washington that continue to offer year-round swimming at affordable rates for children adults, and senior citizens.