Tag Archives: Indiana

Dixie Bound No Longer

14 Mar

IMG_2286It only took a year and a half, but we are no longer in the South! A few weeks ago, my husband got a new job, so we pulled up stakes and moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana. I am ecstatic to be back in the Midwest: the land of family, Faygo, and Meijer. I have to admit, though, that I do miss a lot about the South, especially things we’ve discovered while living in Alabama during the last eight months. You know, when I wasn’t keeping up with the blog? Yeah, sorry about that.

Anyway, I thought I would spend the next few blog posts “debriefing” myself about the Dixie Experience. The following are a few things that I know that I will miss, as well as a few things I won’t miss.

The Weather

I know there are people out there who love snow, but I am not one of them. Down in Alabama, we got our autumn weather in December, and it never really dipped below 45 degrees during the day, except for a few random times. I rarely wore a coat, and up until the day before she flew up to Michigan, my daughter was playing outside on the playground. My favorite time was Christmas, when we went to the “Christmas in a Railroad Town” in Opelika. My daughter and I walked around outside for three hours in little more than a sweater while she rode ponies, sat and watched a choral quartet perform, and ate s’mores while a guy played the banjo. We have a similar event in my hometown in Michigan called the “Candlewalk.” It’s essentially identical, except the streets are lined with candles in milk jugs, and it’s usually either ungodly cold or ungodly cold and sleeting. Of course, living in the South makes you “soft.” Our first week in Fort Wayne, there was a big winter storm where we got 4-6 inches of snow, and we realized the next morning that we did not have a snow shovel, nor did we have an ice scraper for the car.

But let me tell you something that the Midwest does not have: disgusting bugs that continue to grow and breed all year round. I know I’ve complained about it in the past, but I’ve seen more new and disgusting bugs in the last year than I had in my 29 years previous. I just hope to God that none have followed me to the new place. I’m not worried about cockroaches; we only saw one in the new apartment. Apparently the old apartment was just disgusting, and living on the ground floor is a no-no. In the Alabama apartment, we did have silverfish, though. They destroyed at least one pair of shoes, and they are GROSS.

The Culture

I was going to say that I missed the accent, but there is so much more that goes with it. It’s not just being offered “pah” and ladies “blessin’ yer little heart!” It’s about the sweet tea and grits, the Waffle Houses, the kids referring to their parents as ma’am and sir, etc. I didn’t notice until recently, but people have a lot more patience in the South than in the Midwest, and folks are more likely to smile at you and strike up a quick conversation with you.

Also, hearing a Southern person imitate a Michigan accent is hilarious.

Charlie Joseph’s

Charlie Joseph's 1Not too long after we moved to Alabama in June 2012, my husband and I had a hankering for a chili dog. Now, if you know anything about Flint, Michigan, it’s that the city is home to some fantastic coney dogs, i.e. Angelo’s, the Flushing A, etc. So we googled chili dogs and found this place called “Charlie Joseph’s” in downtown Lagrange, Georgia. The place is amazing. It’s essentially just a counter around a central cooking area. The employees are also amazing. We were new to the place, and went there maybe 4 times sporadically within 8 months, yet they always remembered us, cared about what was going on with us, and treated our daughter fantastically. My only complaint is that they didn’t carry Koegel hot dogs (their hot dogs are grayer than I’m used to), but that is a minor complaint. Charlie Joseph’s was the second to last place we ate before moving.

Osteria del Figo

Osteria del FigoMy favorite restaurant in Atlanta, which is down the road from one of my husband’s favorite wine shops, (Perrine’s), Osteria del Figo does things a little different in that you order up front, and then you seat yourself. That is literally the only difference between this place and any other awesome restaurant out there. The atmosphere, the food, and the servers – all fantastic. We were lucky enough to eat there twice. The first time, we met the restaurant’s manager (who shares the my daughter’s name, sort of), and his girlfriend, who was our server, and it was great. The second time we went a few months later, we had the same great service and food, and they cared enough to remember us and genuinely be happy to see us (and genuinely sad to hear that we were moving so far away).

Borgo Italia

I can’t mention Figo without mentioning Borgo, because Borgo in Peachtree City, Georgia, was the first restaurant we really grew to love in the South. Their wine selection was great, their food was great (my favorite is the bolognese!), and the people there were wonderful. My daughter especially loved them, and they were always sweet to her, and to us! They really made us feel like family whenever we went there. It was also great to see the place grow and flourish while we were there. When we first visited, Borgo was transitioning from a deli/market to a full service restaurant, and we were blessed to see the place get progressively busier and busier with each passing visit. We never got a chance to go back to Borgo after moving to Alabama, unfortunately, but we think about them often, and will definitely be making a trip back if we ever go back to visit.

Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale

When I found out we were moving to Indiana, I decided to buy the most Southern sounding congratulatory beer I could find, and Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale won. I had been eyeing it for a while to try, but had to finish the mix and match beer that I already had before I made a new purchase. Of course, it’s fantastic. Probably my favorite beer. And they don’t sell it north of Tennessee.

Grace Heritage Church

In the last two years, we have lived in five different states. In the last ten years, we have lived at fifteen different addresses. In the shuffle of everything, we had neglected to really find a church. We had known, especially with our daughter reaching toddler-hood, that we really needed to find a good church and rebuild our foundation in Christ, but it never really happened. Finally, after a month or so of particularly stressful hardship, we decided to attend Grace Heritage Church in Auburn, Alabama. It was amazing. We were welcomed with open arms into the church, our daughter loved playing with the other kids in the child care room, and the sermons and bible studies seemed to target specific issues that both my husband and I had been struggling with lately. On top of that, the pastor and his family invited us into his home and introduced us to other young couples and church members, helping us really connect to good, decent, caring people. And three weeks later, we moved. Which is really sad, because I feel like we really could have grown in that church and become wonderful friends with those people. And while it’s discouraging that we had to leave them, it’s also encouraging to us that we might be able to find a church home that’s as welcoming and wonderful here in Fort Wayne.

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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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