Where is Mineral Beach?
It is a couple miles from the site of the Whiskey Rebellion down a little road named, appropriately, Beach Drive.
What is Mineral Beach ?
It is an enormous swimming pool built in the 1920s with beach-like sides. It slopes gently like a shallow bowl, and a person enters step by step, going gradually deeper and deeper as if the pool were a lake or ocean.
Why is Mineral Beach?
I don’t know. But I can make a good guess.
Mineral Beach probably exists for the same reason that Kennywood Park exists: it was built by a trolley company to “incentivize” people to ride the trolley to the end of the line.
Even under two or three feet of snow, the pool astounds. I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture that captures its expansiveness. But it flows over its space in a way not at all pool-like.
To hot, sweaty people riding the trolley, Mineral Beach must have looked as fantastic as an oasis.
That trolley company really built the thing, too. In spite of the massive maintenance issues associated with swimming pools and Mineral Beach’s considerable age, it still is used all summer. The cost per day is $6.
What’s so great about Mineral Beach?
This huge old swimming pool in the country invokes a way of life—and for that matter a way of doing business—that has vanished. Imagine extending public transportation into the country to tempt people to ride public transportation.
Anybody with the trolley fare could spend a day at a public pool constructed to mimic a beach. The air was sweet, the view was big. People would ride home refreshed.
Ghosts of public transportation
In October I blogged about Ruthfred Acres Shopping Center, which was built in the 1940s. In the 1940s Ruthfred Acres was surrounded by cornfields and farms, but it had bus service starting in 1941.
Now Ruthfred Acres is part of Bethel Park, a well-populated and thoroughly developed suburb of Pittsburgh. But it hasn’t had bus service since 1966.