From a Toddler to a Marriage Proposal
I always tell people that I grew up at the Hot Springs Pool. My Dad, Skip Bolitho, was the Area Red Cross Chapter Director, and he taught swimming lessons there for many years. As a toddler I fell into the pool one day, and he decided it was time for me to learn how to swim. Growing up in Glenwood Springs, the pool was THE place to hang out! And during my high school years, we were sometimes there when the pool wasn't "officially open!" After hours swimming was a challenge we relished--especially in the winter time when the steam coming off the water was very thick.
The summer before my Senior year in high school (1958) I became a member of the staff at the pool as a lifeguard. Those were the days when the hot spring water flowed into the pool on one side, and cold city water was added on the other side--no filtration system! Every Monday afternoon we closed the pool, opened the gate in the deep end and drained the pool completely. For several hours we leaned on high pressure fire hoses, washed down the entire pool and then began refilling it so we could open on Tuesday morning.
In the fall of 1959 the state health department mandated that the pool be remodeled and a filtration system be put in place. This was accomplished with the pool being closed for several months, and the first official event was the class of 1960's graduation party. Bennett Shotwell, and elementary school teacher, was hired as the "New Pool Manager", but he left for "greener pastures" after one month. At that time, I became the first full time pool manager--a position I held through 1963. Bruce Isaacson was our outstanding General Manager, and we had a great staff overseeing the pool operations.
One of the benefits of being pool manager was having my own set of keys to the place! In an effort to impress the young lady whom I had been dating for some time, I invited her to an after hours swim one August evening in 1963. Under a star filled sky, in the "therapy pool" I proposed to Denver native Nancy Kerr. I'm not sure what "magic" the pool holds, but it has worked for us, as we will celebrate 50 years of marriage this December!
I've always professed that Glenwood Springs was a great place to grow up. And the Hot Springs Lodge & Pool has been an incredible part of my life.