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Warrington marks 80th anniversary of Mary Barness pool

If you live in Warrington – get ready for a big party.

Warrington Township is gearing up for the 80th anniversary of its beloved Mary Barness Tennis and Swim Club and there’s a daylong celebration planned for July 28 to mark the occasion.

The community pool has been “the community pool in Warrington for eight decades,” said Barry Luber, Warrington’s manager. “It has great amenities that families have enjoyed for generations. We invite all to come out and enjoy the day’s festivities.”

The three-pool swim club, located at 2501 Freedom Way, will host the family-friendly event beginning at 11 a.m. and running until 8 p.m.
There will be a DJ from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and games, including an egg toss and water balloon toss, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Save room for special cake at 3 p.m.

Andrew Oles, Warington’s parks and recreation director, said the pool is an integral part of the township. “It’s a beautiful facility, where children learn to swim, become lifeguards and join swim teams.”
It also has a rich history.

Opened in 1939 by the Philadelphia District of the Workman’s Benefit Fund USA, the swimming area has had many names, including the 611 Pool Club and the Warrington Pool Club. The Department of the Navy took the pool over during World War II. The German Club retained ownership through the late 1970s when the property included a boarding house called the Center House and fields of corn and soybeans surrounded the area. A dance hall for teenagers and picnic groves also attracted residents throughout the summer for decades.

A long driveway leading to the pool and paths from a variety of nearby roads offers children a way to get to the pool safely, with small bridges over Little Neshaminy Creek.

The Center House and dance hall are gone, replaced with housing developments. The Barness Organization bought the property and turned it over to the township, renaming it the Mary Barness Tennis and Swim Club.

Today, the swim club features three pools and basketball and shuffleboard courts. There’s also a spot for beach volleyball.

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