Thursday, December 22, 2011

Florida History: Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Casino and Pool - gone but tradition remains

Fort Lauderdale's beach skyline today

 For more Florida history,

By Jane Feehan

The Las Olas Beach Casino and Pool, first built about 1915, attracted both pool swimmers and day trippers to the beach. The wooden structure was replaced in 1927 or 1928 (depending on the account) with a Mediterranean building designed by Fort Lauderdale architect Francis Abreu. The municipal complex included an Olympic-size pool that was built 60 by 165 feet, and three to 12 feet in depth.

A story in the Fort Lauderdale (Florida) Daily News (Nov. 24, 1941) claimed “the pool is filled several times weekly with 420,000 gallons of filtered salt water pumped by three wells from more than 20 feet of rock and shell and sand. The chlorinating system is one of the best in the south.” The municipal building also included a wading pool for children and hundreds of lockers for visitors.

The same story touted the Las Olas Beach Casino and Pool as the “training ground of champions as well as one of the finest pools in the south.” It also hosted an annual national aquatic forum, which drew “the country’s outstanding swimmers and divers from schools and colleges in every corner of the land … [it] is a dripping wet trial session for pet strokes, new dives, water ballets and other natatorial kinks.”
Casino Pool 1966

The building sat just south of Las Olas Boulevard. It was demolished in 1966 to make way for new development. The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF), constructed a block or two west of the old Casino, was dedicated in 1965. A striking building, the ISHOF continues to host the annual aquatic forum held shortly after Christmas. Discussions have been held over the past decade or so about its replacement. Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

For info about the International Swimming Hall of Fame, see: 
For info about Fort Lauderdale's Olympic medalist swimmer Katy Rawls, see:
For info on the link between the annual aquatic forum and Fort Lauderdale's Spring Break, see:
For more about Fort Lauderdale architect, Francis Abreu, see: 

Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, swimming history, Fort Lauderdale in the 1920s, Florida history, architect Francis Abreu, film research


Wendy Landis said...

I learned to swim in the old Casino Pool, back in the early 60's. As I young girl I was in awe with that old pool!! I thought it was not only beautiful, but a magical place! It was hard to gulp down salt water, but my Mother always repeated this poem from
"Poems for Peter".....and I quote,
"I hate to swallow water, and it's all Gods fault, "cause he could have put in suger, but he went and put in salt".!!! GREAT memories

Jane Feehan said...

There are photos of the pool at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. You may wish to visit their website: