Skip to content

Monument to racism

August 25, 2011

One I posted to Tumblr, which got my blood boiling, thinking of the general social crapitude of where I mostly grew up.

(via Gypsy Jane’s Blog: Swimming vs Surfing)

The photos svnoyi has been posting got me homesick and Googling photos–and besides more homesick-inducing ones, I found this one that really pissed me off. That sign wasn’t up yet last time I was back home, in a park on the other side of the mountain from my house.

The sign says: Wildwood Pool, 1929-1964 For thirty-six years, a swimming pool provided Radford with water recreation at this location in Wildwood Park, to give a place “in which to avoid bad habits”. The opening of the pool and a dance on Independence Day in 1929 attracted over 10,000 people from Radford and surrounding area.
The pool was 200 feet long and for a while received its water, described as “always cold”, directly from Connelly’s Run. The complex also featured a bathhouse, concession stand, ticket booth and a parking area. The pool was filled in and closed in 1964. Portions of the west wall can be seen beyond this marker.

Yay, monument to racism. 😐

My mom used to be a lifeguard there. I’m not surprised that they didn’t mention that this was built directly on an old winter town site that got burned out by settlers in the creek bottom (though they sure do mention the burial cave nearby a lot–see also VIRGINIA BURIAL CAVES: AN INVENTORY OF A DESECRATED RESOURCE*). What I am really appalled at, though, is just leaving it at “The pool was filled in and closed in 1964.” Yep, and you can probably guess why by the date. My mom was there that day, and my grandfather came down and made her leave work, afraid that some of the bigots who showed up to hassle kids who wanted to swim might hurt her. That same day, it got shut down for “maintenance”, and there was no pool other than a private club one built for wealthier non-local people–the same folks who were pitching fits about Black kids using the public pool–for 10+ years. (ETA: and a university one not open to the public)

The new one they built in the river bottom, on top of another town site (“probably somehow related to the Sioux tribe” *museumfailheaddesk*), with two weeks allowed for an archaeological dig, under enough pressure from people other than the descendants of the folks who used to have summer town sites there until it got burned out.

Funny what bits of the history get mentioned, eh? This does not surprise me, having grown up there, but it sure does piss me off sometimes.

* Nitpick: It’s not in Mongomery Co., it’s in City of Radford. Which is not in any county. If you’re doing research in VA, you should know this. Or issuing the ridiculous birth certificate printouts, with info changed from the original which you’ve shredded/burned. *CommonwealthofVirginiafailheaddesk*

ETA: Also, “Adams Cave (44MY482) served as a party cave, but was not known as a burial site until a student brought a human mandible and two long bone fragments to a college professor and an investigation ensued” Actually, kids were going in there basically forever to gawk at the skeletons until their parents found out about it. My mom and her friends did. Nobody wanted it disturbed, especially if it was their ancestors’ burials. (At least the burial bit was way back in there from the area that kept getting graffiti…) And, yeah, somebody with no business going in there in the first place actually took out bones in the ’90s, and it got further disturbed.


If I were too embarrassed to admit why it closed on a sign, I would just not put one up at all.

Actually, you can see roughly where all the sites would be on the badly-tiled photo I’ve been using as a header here, shown from up on top of the bluffs on the other side of the river.


The house is not in the middle of a giant floating cluster of pokeberries, but in a neighborhood kind of on the back side of the mountain, which is unusual right there by extending so far into the valley bowl. I may well have gotten the location of the Adams Cave opening wrong, but it’s up there somewhere less than halfway up that side. I kept digging into the same cave network, trying to plant things–and our basement must have been easy to dig, since the back wall turned out to be closing off a cave. (There have been a couple of sinkholes in the streets up there, but I’m surprised houses haven’t fallen in yet.) And “new” with the pool means opened in the mid-late ’70s. 😉

And, yeah, Alan Briceland plausibly placed Batts and Fallam’s “Tetera/Totera Town” (“Tutelo”) right about there, thinking they were still on a different river. “[P]robably somehow related to the Sioux tribe”, indeed.  And there’s only one of those!

"Pre-contact distribution of the Siouan languages" -- though the Eastern blob looks much smaller than it should be, AFAICT, and should at least have dots up the Ohio Valley toward Lake Erie. And add more dots in the middle. I don't know enough about the big blob's appropriateness to say much. Still covers a lot of territory.

Source. And that is apparently not including Catawban/Woccon, which makes the size and distribution of the blob make a little more sense.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: