100 years of Johnson Pool

Updated May 05, 2021
Historic Johnson Pool
For nearly 100 years, friends and families have beat the heat at the local Johnson Pool in downtown Roseville. Originally constructed in 1921, it served as Roseville’s first public swimming pool (also known as a swim bath in the 1920s). The pool is named for David R. Johnson who operated the privately-owned pool until it was purchased by the City of Roseville in the 1960s.

Historic Johnson PoolRichly connected to Roseville’s history, the pool was originally owned by the railroad and was closely tied to the Pacific Fruit Express (PFE) ice plant. The plant was located just across the railroad tracks and produced blocks of ice for railroad cars to ship produce across the nation. A large water supply pipe connected the PFE ice plant to the pool, supplying 150,000 gallons of pure water from the plant’s cooling towers to fill the pool each day. Each night, the lifeguard on-duty would drain the pool and the untreated water was emptied into Dry Creek. Back in 1921, pools didn’t have chlorine or pump circulation so this process prevented the water from becoming stagnant and producing water born bacteria. Nearly 100 years later, the pool still serves as a local swim hole. Approximately 3,000 people visit the pool each summer for recreational swim and another 900+ children take swim lessons.

In 2011, a program that eventually would provide subsidized swim lessons began. You may have heard of it. It is called Operation Swim. It started when a staff member noticed many of the children at the pool were swimming in t-shirts and shorts. After sharing the story with other staff and asking for donations, a total of 55 girl swimsuits, 50 boy swimsuits and 45 towels were donated for the children. A “boutique night” was set up at the pool for kids to choose a swimsuit and towel and Operation Swim was born. The program continues to help children in need each year through your generous donations. To date, over 3,700 children have received a new swimsuit and towel and over 1,000 children have received life-saving swim lessons.

Johnson Pool todayIn addition to new programs, you have likely seen the pool undergo several improvements over the years. Most recently, the pool received a series of structural upgrades, repainting and landscaping through the use of Federal and State grant funds and supplemented by General Fund rehabilitation dollars. The improvements were part of City Council’s goal to reinvest in Roseville’s core neighborhoods. The pool was rededicated in 2019.

Johnson Pool officially turns 100 on October 4, 2021. Look for more information soon on the summer pool schedule.

We would love to see your pictures and hear about your experiences at Johnson Pool over the years. Share with us via email at aquatics@roseville.ca.us