Tag Archives: Genesee

Day Out With Thomas 2011

10 Sep

During our August trip home to Michigan, Lucca and I took my sister and nephew out to Day Out With Thomas at Crossroads Village. Our kids are a little too young to really enjoy everything offered at the park, but we still had a great time in the short time we were there. The photo above is Lucca and I posing with Percy. It was far too busy to have our picture taken with the T-man himself, but next year, we will definitely plan better. We also wanted to have our pictures taken with Bob the Builder or Sir Topham Hatt, but we got to the Village during their long break, and the kids were getting fussy before they came out again. Lucca and Avery liked the bubble machine, though. I think the kids will really get a kick out of the Halloween program, since it is a little more organized, cooler, and up their alley.

Dort Mall

25 Jun

During a recent trip home to Michigan, my husband visited the super-sized Perani’s Hockey World in the Dort Mall in Flint, and I went with him to see the marvelous wonders displayed within the mall.

Dort MallLike many early malls, the Dort Mall was once a bustling shopping center with stores and even a bar downstairs. Today, it features the aforementioned gigantic hockey store owned by Bob Perani, a bargain store, dollar store, consignment store, head shop, Star Bros Coney Island, alterations shop, and sports printing shop. As the mall became painfully empty, Bob Perani began displaying things he had collected over the years. According to a 2003 Flint Journal article, Perani enjoys the thrill of the hunt – in terms of antique auctions and the like.

Curiousity ShopThe Dort Mall, or “Small Mall,” (for those of you not from the Flint area), is not a museum. The artifacts are not organized or labeled in any special way, although they are organized in an aesthetically or subconciously pleasing way. The neat thing is seeing kids come in and look at the things as though they are in a museum.

Anyway, after visiting the Dort Mall and taking the photos that I took, I read in the Flint Journal that many of the things in the Mall will be auctioned off in July. This includes the giant mechanical elephant that I view as the centerpiece of the collection. The article did not say how much would be auctioned off or why, since Perani could not be reached for comment. When he had an auction in 2003, it was because he wanted to make room for more things that he had purchased, but this time, there has been some speculation, at least amoung my family, that it may be to help the financial situation of the Flint Generals hockey organization, which Perani owns, or to procure funds to purchase Perani Arena (where the Generals play, but Perani does not own).Tegan and Little Lulu

I suppose we will just have to wait and see. If you would like to see more photos, please see the Flickr link to my other photos.

Wesley Bintz Swimming Pools

17 Jun

Moores Park Swimming Pool (1923) in Lansing, Michigan

Hi there! I’m so glad you’ve found your way to my blog about Wesley Bintz and his swimming pools. The research here was done mostly on my own time (or as part of a grad school project), and is a few years old, so please understand that information here might be out of date, especially regarding existing and in-use swimming pools. ALSO, if you are looking for information to include in an article or essay, PLEASE cite me as a source. (Tegan D’Arcangelis Baiocchi or Tegan Baiocchi – you can call me an architectural historian, historian, or historic preservationist). I have spent a lot of my free time compiling this research, and as a young history professional who happened to find a niche, it’s nice to get my name out there. Also, there aren’t a lot of other sources for this information – that’s why you find yourself at a 5+ year old WordPress blog. :)

Also, as I mentioned above, this blog and all of its contents are my own work and not affiliated with any employer, past or present. BUT if you do happen to need some cultural resources services, I might be able to point you in the right direction. :)

Also, after reading this post, be sure to check out my follow up blog here. 

Who was Wesley Bintz?
Wesley Bintz attended the University of Michigan for both his bachelors and masters degrees in engineering (1916 and 1918). Bintz worked for two and a half years in Flint’s city engineer’s department, then went to Lansing as a structural engineer. He soon was named city engineer. Bintz left the position in 1923 to specialize in the engineering of swimming pools.

What did Wesley Bintz Build?
Athletic Park - Municipal Swimming Pool, Anderson Indiana 2
The swimming pools that Wesley Bintz designed and built are unique (and patented) in that the pool is above the ground and, in most cases, the changing areas are underneath. While typical Bintz pools were ovoid in shape, some of his above-ground pools were rectangular. They also ranged in size from 25′ x 40′ (Batchelder Hotel, Old Orchard Beach, Maine) to 130′ x 240′ (Cleveland, Ohio). He patented his “Bintz Pool” design in 1926.

Wesley Bintz claimed that “A Bintz Pool is 25% to 40% cheaper to build than a sunken pool and bath house of equal size, permanence, and details.” The reason for this can be found in the fact that Bintz Pools required little excavation, since the pool was above ground. A Bintz Pool also required less land space, since the bath house and swimming area basically occupied the same area of land.

Where are They Now?
johnson city ny come on inAccording to a newspaper article, Wesley Bintz and his associates had designed 135 swimming pools. With a little help from Bintz enthusiasts in Oklahoma, I’ve tracked down 63 Bintz pools, or locations where Bintz pools were constructed. Seven of these are traditional sunken pools, but the rest are above-ground “bintz” designs.

Fun Facts about Bintz Swimming Pools
A large percentage of Bintz pools were constructed near rivers, streams, or creeks. According to a former pool manager, this may have been in order to fill or empty the pool with ease by pumping the water to and from the water source. Unfortunately, it also led to the destruction by floods of at least two pools (Wellsville & Elmira, NY) and has damaged the closed pool in Anadarko, OK.

kearsley park pavillion2The first two pools Bintz designed in Flint, Michigan have been demolished, but the bath house of one in Kearsley Park still stands and is used for park events. When the pool was demolished in the 1980s, the city decided to keep the bath house and use it as a pavilion.

The oldest surviving Wesley Bintz swimming pool is in his home town of Lansing, Michigan. Built in 1923 in Moores Park, the pool is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has undergone rehabilitation and safety additions in its 86-year lifetime.

At one time, Beaumont, Texas boasted three Wesley Bintz Swimming Pools – built in 1926, 1927, and 1938. The last Bintz pool in Beaumont, the Alice Keith Park Swimming Pool, was demolished in 2002.

Today, Boise Idaho has two Bintz Pools that are still open to the public. These pools are identical and were probably built at the same time.

More Information
If you would like more information about Wesley Bintz and his swimming pools….
If you would like an architectural analysis of a Bintz pool…
If you would like your community’s Bintz swimming pool historically designated…
contact me at tegan.baiocchi@hotmail.com

What Else?
I’m planning a road trip to Weirton, West Virginia to see about the pool there. More information to come!

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