Greenwood Beach

South Prong Creek, Ellis County, Texas


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from This Was Ellis County

A publication of the Junior Historians,

Waxahachie High School, 1979

 

Fun And Frolic At Greenwood Beach

by Diana Cabrera

Come one, come all to the big parade Wednesday, May 21,1921 at 3:30 p.m. The parade then proceeded from the southeast corner of the public square to the Grand Opening at Greenwood Beach in Waxahachie, Texas. Approximately one dozen cars with Greenwood Beach banners, bathers and spectators participated in the parade. Nearly three thousand people from Waxahachie, Frost, Italy, Maypearl, and Nash attended. A prize of ten dollars was given to the city of Waxahachie for having the most people at the parade. The money was donated to the Waxahachie Sanitarium. Curlin Drug Company in Waxahachie advertised their new stock of bathing suits for the occasion. A prize of a season ticket to Greenwood Beach was given to Miss Chessie Johnson for the prettiest bathing suit at the Grand Opening. The judges remained undecided on the prettiest girl on the beach, who was to receive a season ticket also. A swimming contest was being planned on a later date.

Free privileges to all were given on the opening day. A most cordial invitation was extended to Trinity University and Waxahachie High School students. Greenwood Beach opened at 4 p.m. and the crowds swam continuously on the beautiful beach. It was quite scenic, and included a cliff overlooking the bathers. Prizes were given away at 5 p.m. Mermaids and men continued to frolic until 9 p.m.

Greenwood Beach became a popular swimming area about three miles southwest of Waxahachie on South Prong Creek. It was owned and operated by Mr. Walter M. Mincey, who was also owner of Mincey Dry Goods Co. There was a dam across the stream on land owned by Mr. Campbell, owner of Campbell Dry Goods Co. in Waxahachie. Mr. W. M. Mincey built the dam and facilities.

Two separate "shot-gun" type buildings were used as dressing rooms. Swimming fees were collected, bathing suits were rented, and candy, cold drinks and cigarettes were sold at the small concession building that was also used as an office. A fee of fifty cents was charged in order to enter the pool. An additional fifty cents was charged for the rental of bathing suits.

The swimming pool was two or three feet deep at the upper end, where the water came in from above, over a white rock area, and extended downstream for about one fourth of a mile. The depth of the pool gradually increased to eight or nine feet where it was thirty feet across. A wooded area like a park surrounded the pool. The roads leading to Greenwood Beach were unpaved, dusty in dry weather, and a black mud mess in wet weather.

Greenwood Beach received its name from a contest in which persons sent in possible names for the pool. The winner was a woman who was a non-Waxahachian. She won a season pass to Greenwood Beach and some cash.

Buster Marchbanks was full-time manager of the pool. Walter M. Mincey Jr. worked at the pool as lifeguard and as part-time manager. W. M. Mincey Jr. recalls that the ladies wore bathing suits with sleeves, full skirts, stockings, bathing shoes, and bathing caps with frilled trim. The men wore knit tops and shorts or a one-piece with a short skirt. The pool area included a cable stretched from a tree on the high side bank to the other side of the pool, on which there was a sling seat with trolley wheel, which ran the length of the cable. He remembers the fun he had riding down with a splash into the water.

Greenwood Beach operated from 1921 to about 1923. No pools near Waxahachie were open during the time that the beach was being operated except Shaw's Plunge, which was similar to Greenwood Beach. In a time where air conditioners were unheard of, Greenwood Beach provided a refreshing time in the heat of the summertime.

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