Swimming options were few in Fargo's early years. The most popular place to swim was in the Red River. There were even swimming exhibitions and a tall diving platform on the river. I know of only two indoor pools in the early years. Fargo Central High School (built in 1921) had an indoor pool. It was small and generally disliked by the students because of the heavy chlorine content and the wet hair with which you went to your next class. The pool was reserved for reluctant students and not open to the public. The YMCA (built in 1905) had a small swimming pool that was available for "Y" members. The new Y (built in 1962) has the largest indoor swimming pool in Fargo (I believe).
Fargo's first public swimming pool was built in the 1930's in Island Park. It is now closed and a new public swimming pool located nearby. The Harry Howland public swimming pool was opened in the early 1960's. It was located on the southeast corner of the old Fairgrounds (Broadway and 17th Avenue North). It was removed and a new pool built adjacent to North High School.
Before the WPA built Fargo's first swimming pool in the 1930's, everyone swam in the Red River. Although few would consider it today, it was commonplace before the swimming pool was built. The most common place for swimming was near the foot bridge across the river in Island Park. In the picture to the right, one can see the foot bridge to the left and a four level diving tower which was on the Moorhead side of the river.
The picture was taken in 1936-37 of the famous Water Pageant put on by the Fargo Park Board. The divers are: Bill Yeoman and Fred Henning (top level); Gordon Wong on the next level down; Jack Askew and John Weed on the tier second from the bottom; and Beverly Stengland and Betty Altringer on the bottom tier.
The bottom picture shows the crowd enjoying the show. The photographer is standing on the Moorhead side of the river looking toward Fargo at about the present location of the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater. Note the sign that says "We are not responsible for accidents"!