Alpha and Emmet Carr owned 40 acres of land on either side of the Skunk River a mile outside of town near on what would become E. 16th Street. Here “Dad” Carr ran a sand and gravel extracting business.
Carr was concerned about the safety of children swimming in the river, but when the referendum to build a city pool in May of 1926 failed, he decided to build the pool himself. Thirty-seven days later the pool was opened to the public.
The 60’ x 175’ pool varied in depth from 18” to 11’, providing a slide and fountain in the shallow end, and spinning tops, and various diving boards and towers in the deep end. They also offered Red Cross swimming lessons. Their motto was, “swim in drinking water.”
By the 1930’s, now called Carr’s Riverside Park, the park provided picnic grounds with tables and fireplaces, tennis and basketball courts, a 21 hole Tom Thumb golf course, a lily pond, rock gardens, and flower gardens. In the late 30’s, the park hosted the Midwest AAU Swim Meet, charging 10 cents for a seat. It also built a tented wooden floor for roller skating.
In 1973 the Carr family sold the park to the city of Ames. The bathhouse was rebuilt and the tops and fountains were removed. After construction of the Furman Aquatic Center in 2012, Carr Pool was closed at the end of the 2009 season. Despite ongoing efforts to reopen, the pool was demolished in 2012. The bathhouse remains in what is now called Carr Park.