Hot enough for ya?

First Fitler pool 02
First Fitler swimming pool

In the throes of one of New  Jersey’s infamous humidity drenched August heat waves we have to admire the ingenuity of these Rivertonians of old who found a way to keep cool.

Way before postwar prosperity and innovative construction methods of builders such as Phil Anthony and Herman Silverman, respective founders of Anthony and Sylvan Pools, enabled mainstream America to construct swimming pools in their own backyards, the Fitler family of 109 Bank Avenue made one in theirs.

This may be the “first swimming pool in Riverton” described by Mrs. Barbara Page Bartholomew during an interview conducted by former HSR President Gerald Weaber when he researched his feature, “The Fascinating Fitlers,” for the November 2009 Gaslight News. Gerald recorded:

Miss Barbara was fond of her aunt’s husband, Nathan Myers Fitler, whom she affectionately called Uncle Myers and who she said built the first swimming pool in Riverton. Nathan Myers and Mary Biddle Fitler lived in the home known as Graystone at 109 Bank Avenue. The first swimming pool in town was on the same property where the Fitler playhouse once stood. The playhouse, where Miss Barbara played as a youngster, was later the home to Anne Knight-Ruff, author of Ruff Copy, located at 4 Thomas Avenue behind Graystone.

first fitler pool 01 (Copy)

first fitler pool 04 (Copy)

These adorable century-old candid shots of kids at play are from a family album loaned to us for scanning by Mr. and Mrs. William Steel of Cinnaminson.

In it were a number of other photos of historical interest that will be shared here and, since some photos had no captions, we may need your help with names or guessing dates.

first fitler pool 06 (Copy)first fitler pool 03 (Copy)first fitler pool 05 (Copy)





Below is a preview of coming attractions. One wonders how many other glimpses into Riverton’s past lie waiting to be discovered and shudders at the thought of the history that is often discarded. – JMc

undated photo, presumably July 4th
undated photo, presumably July 4th

Published by

John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

One thought on “Hot enough for ya?”

  1. A Facebook reader asked if this was the pool in which Bay Ruff gave swimming instruction to many area children. I have no first-hand knowledge of this, but I understand that she had an in ground concrete pool on her property. Several people at Bay Ruff’s memorial service expressed fond memories of learning to swim with her there. One person testified that Bay invited friends over to repaint the pool every year – with regular house paint. We would gladly publish more remembrances of her, comments, or photos as Anne Knight Ruff is certainly a giant among the persons who have left a positive mark on Riverton history. -JMc

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