“It’s one of the eeriest, strangest places I’ve ever been.” That’s what Chris Seward said of this little known spot on the University of Rochester campus when he took these photos. The Merle Spurrier Gymnasium opened in 1955 as part of a women’s center and the Susan B. Anthony women’s dormitory. Spurrier housed this 25-yard-long, six lane swimming pool. According to a 2004 Campus Times article , the pool has been closed ever since the women’s gym facilities were moved to the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center in 1982…
After the gym was moved, Spurrier became an alternative exam location for large classes. When exams weren’t taking place, the pool became a convenient storage facility for all the extra desk chairs.
The on-campus technology store, University IT Computer Sales, has made use of the pool deck for storage of large boxes and various other extra tables and equipment. The pool deck has also been used as a home for props from Strong Auditorium. As a result, many odds and ends can be found poolside, such as old-fashioned television sets, couches and brooms.
The chairs and desks are not used much any more. Today, the building is home to the University Progam of Movement & Dance, and practice rooms for the music department.
It’s kind of funny how, at the shallow end, the desks are lined up very neatly. Then at the deep end it becomes an enormous junk pile. I can just imagine the poor dude tasked with moving all this stuff into the pool, working late into the night… He was probably like, “ah fuck it.”
Sometime after these feet appeared all over the floor and walls, the University locked the space up pretty tight. Personally, I think the feet are a nice touch. They really tie the room together.
When the Susan B. Anthony dorm was built, tunnels were opened between the residence hall and the gymnasium, providing easy, warm access for the women. Maybe those are the footprints of Susie’s ghost? Even suffragettes enjoy a refreshing dip now and again.
UPDATE: I’m getting a lot of people asking if this pool is still there. Yes. Still there. And everyone I’ve spoken to says it’s in the same condition. The panoramic photo was shot in 2011.
UPDATE: Allen C. via Facebook, says “Unfortunately I witnessed—only within the last few weeks—the movement of all these Wakefield desks to dumpster after dumpster. Its empty now.”
Photos shared with permission from Chris Seward, 2010. You can view Chris’ entire Flickr set here
360º panoramic photo taken by Tony Di Pietro, 2011. You can view more of Tony’s work here
Inquiries made to University of Rochester were not returned by the time this story was published. Thanks to Tony and Ryan Green for helping me pull together the details.
Tags: abandoned swimming pool, Chris Seward, Flickr, Jane Possee, Merle Spurrier, Merle Spurrier Gymnasium, Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center, Rochester, Rochester NY, Rochester panorama, rochester photos, Tony DiPietro, U of R, University of Rochester
This entry was posted on Monday, February 4th, 2013 at 7:54 am and is filed under Art + Culture, Rochester History, Rochester Images, Urban Exploration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Reminds me of the pool at Aquinas which was never used as a pool. When I was at AQ it was used as a music room. The tiered ‘seats’ were used as a study room.