Deep Eddy Pool is a historic, man-made swimming pool in Austin, Texas, United States. Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in Texas and has a bathhouse built during the Depression-era, by the Works Progress Administration. The pool began as a swimming hole in the Colorado River, became a resort in the 1920s, and is today a popular swimming pool operated by the City of Austin.
Deep Eddy began simply as a swimming hole in the Colorado River that flows through Austin. Cold springs rose from the river banks and people swam in the river where a large boulder formed an eddy. In 1915, A.J. Eilers, Sr. bought the land surrounding the swimming hole and built the concrete pool. The pool served as the centerpiece of a resort, the Deep Eddy Bathing Beach, which featured cabins, camping, and concessions. As seen in historic photographs, pool amenities included a zip line across the pool and a tall slide, while other attractions included a diving baby and a Ferris wheel.
In 1935, the City of Austin bought the property for $10,000. Two weeks after the purchase, a massive flood on the Colorado River destroyed all the buildings, and filled the pool with mud and debris. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) rebuilt the bathhouse and the pool opened as a public park in July 1936.
Over time, the city has put the property to a variety of uses. While the pool continues in operation, the city separated the western edge of the land as a park and playground named after A.J. Eilers. The city also converted Deep Eddy’s bathhouse to alternative uses including a long service as a wildlife science exhibit. In 2004 for safety reasons, the city removed the 70-year old, 50-foot tall cottonwoods that surrounded the pool.
Deep Eddy Pool is listed as a historic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and has been the inspiration of various works of art. Texas musician, Jimmie Dale Gilmore wrote the song “Deep Eddy Blues” about the pool and the nearby bar, the Deep Eddy Cabaret.
A collection of historical photographs from the Austin History Center can be viewed in our Photo Archive