For many of the residents living in and around Palos Verdes Estates,learning how to swim in Roessler Pool remains a highlight of their childhood.
Nestled at the foot of the ocean bluff on city parkland below Malaga Cove, the five-story stucco bathhouse with arched doors and windows has been in continuous summer use for almost 60 years. It was named for Fred Roessler, the city's first mayor.
The original Bathhouse and Bathing Pool, opened in 1930 as part of the Olmstead Brothers' development of the Palos Verdes Project, provided a meeting place for local organizations and served as the community's pool.
Kirkland Cutter, a well-known architect in the 1930s, designed the 8,300-square-foot building and incorporated many of the same details he used in early Palos Verdes residences.
In 1946, a portion of the building was damaged by fire and, while partially repaired, was never restored to its original condition.
A 1930's hand-cranked wringer for wet swimsuits--still in use in the women's area--is a reminder of earlier days, as are the three large filters in the basement that were once used to filter the sandy salt water for the pool.
Roessler Pool, one of the few landmark buildings left on the coastline of Southern California, is currently threatened with demolition unless a plan to preserve it receives sufficient support to fund an estimated $1.5-million in restoration costs.
The proposed new version of the swim club--to be renamed the Palos Verdes Beach and Athletic Club--would have two heated swimming pools open throughout the year, one regulation size and the other a children's wading pool.
Amenities would include beach access, barbecue and volleyball facilities, as well as a snack bar, club, fitness center and locker rooms.
The club would be operated on a concession arrangement similar to the plan used for the Palos Verdes Golf and Tennis Club, with memberships available to Palos Verdes Estates residents and others in nearby communities.