VICTORY PARK

When I was young, I went to my grandparents' as often as possible.  I took swimming lessons the first year I remember visiting Minden for the summer.  I was quite young.  I remember thinking I had to have a reason to go back, so I failed one part of my swimming, so I had a reason to return, the next summer.  I kept on failing something in my swim class every year, so I could go back.  It never dawned on me that they would have let me go, even if I had not failed.  I took almost all my swimming lessons at that pool.  It was the only thing I can say I failed at intentionally... and quite successfully!

 

One summer, we had the prettiest and nicest swim instructor.  I hope she realizes how much we all looked up to her.  All of our instructors were really great, but she was outstanding.  I think her name was Peggy.  She was beautiful and wore the prettiest neon pink swim suit I ever saw!  (It was the first neon pink swimsuit I ever saw, too!)  It looked like something a Barbie doll would wear.  This would have been in the late 1960's to early 1970's. 

 

I spent a lot of time at that pool, when I was in town for my summers.  I was either in the pool, playing ball in the field behind it, riding my bike up and down the streets, checking out books at the library, or I could be found at the skating rink, most nights.  It was definitely the town to be in, when I was growing up!

 

Renee'  Carter LaVinesse, Daughter of Time Carter, Class of 1951

 

Victory Park. The Demolition. Photo Submitted by Ann Harlan, class of 1958.
 

September 18, 2008

There is a photo of the Victory Park pool demolition on the front page of today’s Minden paper.  The caption underneath reads as follows:

 

City crews use backhoes Tuesday to break up and remove concrete at the city swimming pool located in Victory Park.  The city pool at Webster Park was demolished two weeks ago.  The two pools, which had outlived their life expectancies and required costly repairs, will be replaced with new water parks, much like the water park at the Minden Recreation Complex.

 

It makes me so sad to see the pictures of Victory Park swimming pool being torn down.  The very best memories of my childhood come from that pool and park.  We lived just around the corner on Goode Avenue and in the summer we made our daily trek to the pool in the morning, went home for lunch, and then went back and swam until closing time.  I made so many good friends there and have so many fond memories!  I remember the first time I jumped off the high diving board...I did a belly-buster and thought I was going to die of embarrassment!  My favorite lifeguard was Dickie Davis.  He and Keith Lloyd were there at the same time and we thought they were so handsome!  My sisters and I would be brown as could be and have bleached out hair by summer's end.  My best friend and I would sometimes go late at night and "walk the fence" around the outer edge of the pool.  We thought it was quite daring and very dangerous because it was so high! 

(I looked at the height of it not long ago...it wasn't high at all!!!!)  Anyway, even though the pool will be gone, I will forever have my great memories of that wonderful summer place where I grew up!

 

Submitted by: Cyndy Clement Gay, Class of 1969

(Note: Cindy is the daughter of Joan Wiley, Cass of 1952 and Guy Clement, Class of 1951)

September 17, 2008                                      

Dear childhood friends and family,

Today is a very sad day. They are tearing as we speak the Victory Park swimming pool and pool house down. Thought you might want a few pictures.
Cindy Richardson Madden

The City of Minden is in the process of tearing down all of the swimming pools in Minden. The only pool will be at the rec center and it is about twice as large as Hunter's pool was.

It is not very big.

They have made plans for what to do with the property once the pools are gone, but as of now, they haven't released the final decisions.

It is truly a sad day. However, you must remember: Victory Park is over 50 years old.
It did have some problems and it would have been cheaper to rebuild than repair.
But it still has a lot of memories associated with it.

Bo Drake, Class of 1954


(Note: Bo was a former lifeguard at both Hunter's Park and Victory Park. We wrote to Bo and asked if he knew why the the City was tearing the pool down.)

Photo's submitted by Sue Ann Richardson Kinsey and compliments of Cindy Richardson Madden

 

1109 Victory Park Demolition

1110 Victory Park Demolition

1111 Victory Park Demolition

1112 Victory Park Demolition

1113 Victory Park Demolition

 

I lifeguarded two summers at Victory Park – saved my money and it helped pay for some college.  I remember Bo Drake and Johnny Tinnel lifeguarding at Hunter’s Pool. I thought Bo Drake was better looking than any movie star of the time, and Johnny Tinnell used to thrill us all with his high swan dives.

 Jenny (Jeanette Woodard) Class of 1957


If you can remember who some of the other lifeguards were...e-mail us and tell us who they were.

 Jimmy Dale Souter was a lifeguard at Victory Park the first summer it was open. We 13/14/15 year-old girls were

“star-struck” by his good looks.  : )  There was a photo of him there on the website. It may still be there. I think the summer of 1954 was the first summer it was open.  If anyone thinks otherwise I’ll go to the library and look it up to make sure.  I have photos in my album of several of us swimming under water.  I took these photos through the “underground window” the first week the pool was open.  They were/are on the website. (See Memories under Parks and Recreation  under the Org Site)

Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958

 

1.The Swimming Pool  at Victory Park . Does anyone remember the year it was built? 


Hi Sherry, and hello to all and good memories.....

Identifying (2 pool 53) at Victory Park. The boy the longer black hair, facing front is definitely "Bo-Bo" Drake
as we called him then. He was the lifeguard at the pool.

I know for sure as I worked at the Front counter that summer where you got soft ice cream cones. Bo-Bo saved my life when I hurt my back when my feet slipped on the high diving board. A bunch of us (Graduating Seniors, of course) were horsing around playing follow the leader.... climbing, running and diving off the high diving board when I slipped, and my feet hit the back of my head believe it or not paralyzing me temporarily... Bo-Bo finally realized I was not kidding around and dove in to get me thank goodness. He will always hold a special place in my heart.

Yes that is Bo Drake on the high Dive Board and Jimmiy Dale Souter on the low board and now I am almost sure the guy in the first picture was not Jerry Fraizer but Jimmy Dale Souter

Not sure about the guy leaning over but I think it is Jimmie Dale Souter, another lifeguard at the pool.

I don't remember when they built that pool, but it was new when Tom moved in town from New Orleans, back to Minden where his dad had grown up. It must have been around 1950 or 1951. Someone must know... try the town of Minden permit records at the courthouse. Victory Park pool had underwater lights that I also got to turn on sometimes. I remember seeing Bo Drake do a Swan Dive at Hunter's pool one summer and break both arms. Anyone else remember that?

The Minden tennis team practiced at the courts at Victory Park. *Ikey was my mixed-doubles tennis partner and Harold Lynn Turner was my doubles partner. Sometimes Rob Martin was my mixed doubles partner.My mother and father both played tennis with Robert Kennon who became Governor of Louisiana later. There were no nets then unless you owned one and we owned one because my mother actually made it! Think of anyone doing that now! They would never play tennis. I still have my mother's racquet, tho I am not sure where the net and Dad's racquet is. Who knew it would be a collector's item.

*Ikey Kirkikis

I lived on Goode Avenue and swam at all four pools in Minden, all the time, the fourth being in our gymnasium at the High School. We lucky enough to go to school in Minden swam from birth up somewhere or in a lake. They believed in drown-proofing us The Great Pool as I called it was one block from my house as were two tennis courts, and the wonderful old log building I called "TheCommunity Center" where they had dances, picnics, speeches and radio shows and band concerts. This Great pool ran from the street all the way to the road in front of the Community Center. After the GREAT pool was closed and drained of water, neighborhood kids living on Goode Ave., the Browns, Lowes, Kirkikis, Wards hit tennis ball and any other balls against the pool walls until they put up a fence to keep us out and .... but before that and in that rare year it snowed an inch, we actually went sledding in the GREAT pool. Ikey Kirkikis , also lived on Goode Ave., and wonder of wonders had a sled, (the only one in town that I knew of) and guess where the only hill was? the Great Pool! Soooooo we flew down the pool in the snow, and crashed landed at the deep end wall or by hitting a pine tree growing in it. Great fun. Wonder if that was when they put up the fence? Don't remember that.... selective memory?

I wonder how many remember this great pool? When I was small it seems the whole town came to swim there. It was as large as the olympic natatorium at LSU . It was where the ball field is today. My father was one of the owners of the Minden newspaper in 1936 and I have a copy of a 1936 newspaper that tells about that pool and the paper also has my birth announcement in it. That is the year that they ran a bull for mayor in Minden, but that is another story. Minden was a great town to grow up in.

My husband is ( Tom, "Tex", or Tommy as some knew him) . Well anyway, his father was Eugene Harve Searles and Gene grew up in Minden. Gene was a lifeguard at that great pool that was about three inches at one end for the babies to wade and almost 18-20 feet deep at the other. He said it was hard to rescue anyone if they went down in that pool.

Best regards and good memories,

Edna Lowe Searles

3Two pool kids - if you recognize these two boys email us and mention two pool kids at Victory

Park on the Grambling site. Picture #3.

4. Kids having fun at Victory Park...if you recognize any of them e-mail us and tell us who they are.

MindenMemories@AOL.COM

4. 2 FILTERS -This was one of the summer employees who worked at Victory Park one summer.

I believe this room may have been under the swimming pool. If you can identify the employee

e-mail us and mention 2 filters.

5.Jimmy Dale Souter

6. Margaret Powell and ?Kathryn Gardner Identified by LeVerne Langheld Kidd

7. This is a view of Victory Park Swimming Pool in 1954.

8. Billy Don Adams and Bob Lyle

9. Bill Terrill and Margaret Powell

10. Victory Park

 Is that Bo Drake on the high diving board?

Who is on the low diving board?

11. Larry Miles, Edna Lowe, (57)Jimmy Dale Souter (52) 

On the far right is Jack Moreland, class of 1956.

12. Margaret Powell again and Cynthis Adams, Class of 1957.

Hi - I know your gonna love me for this,  but here I go on a Monday morning... stirring up trouble...  bottom picture isn't Betty Kathryn Gardner... Looks a lot like Cynthia Adams? I think was here name?

Girl in the second picture standing behind Margaret Alice is bigger than Betty Kathryn in picture #6. Notice her swim suit is different...Betty K. swim suit  has no straps and has white trim at the top and a little white trim at the leg..

 

"Just the facts mam ! "  Guess you can start calling me

Detective Sergeant Joe Friday, remember him for the Dragnet t.v. show..  

Submitted by LeVerne Langheld Kidd

Thanks for the corrections...Wonder what was wrong with Margaret's bathing suit? Was Margaret one of the Victory Park Lifeguards?

13. Edna Lowe and Larry Miles working in the concession stand

14. Richard Kelly, 1956

Memories:  Victory Park:  Photo #14 is Richard Kelly (1956)  He was a lifeguard.

 Identified by Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958

Photo's by Bob Grambling, submitted by Greg Grambling

 

This article in the Minden Herald, Friday, May 8, 1953.

Victory Park pool will open Saturday, May 9, 1953.  Assistant Recreation Director Kirtley J. Miles will be playground director of Victory Park and Buddy League Coach.  Fred Coday will be supervisor of swimming at the park.  He will be assisted by Jack Miles, head lifeguard; Charles Hennigan, assistant lifeguard; Larry Miles, concession operator and Kenneth Beck, assistant concession operator.

 Submitted by Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958