150 years of swimming school: love stories, anecdotes and finds are sought

150 years of swimming school: love stories, anecdotes and finds are sought
The workers’ pool is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. That’s why the Association of Friends of the Swimming School is looking for memories like this old postcard from the Schimanko collection.
Image: City Archives/Schimanko Collection

Josef Werndl was probably not a man who was slow to make decisions. In 1863 he had the first swimming school built for his workers and their children at the Wehrgrabenwehr. However, ten years later this had to give way to Object VI of the weapons factory. But just a few years later, on March 9, 1874, construction of the new swimming school began, just two months after Werndl received a corresponding request from the city of Steyr on January 5. On June 14, 1874, the swimming school finally opened at its current location.

The “Association of Friends of the Swimming School” is celebrating this anniversary with a series of events this year. “We will of course celebrate these 150 years appropriately,” says chairman Gerhard Bremm, “and start this year on May 18th at 2 p.m. with an official anniversary celebration in the swimming school.” A week in advance, on Saturday, May 11th, Europe’s oldest workers’ outdoor swimming pool will open its doors to bathers.

In the swimming school there will also be an exhibition with old views as well as a literary-musical event, organized by the Marlen Haushofer Literature Forum together with the swimming school association. “Till Mairhofer and I are preparing, among other things, a ‘swimming school cabaret’ for this occasion,” says Michaela Frech, who is also active on the club’s board team. “We are still looking for memories and anecdotes from current and former ones to be communicated to bathers.”

Steyr cultural assets

Sporting experiences, love stories, memories of parents and grandparents or even poems that someone wrote about this unique bathing establishment – all of this is sought. The club is also looking for old views, finds, maps and other things related to the swimming school, which can be loaned out for an exhibition. “I received an old swimming school certificate from a lady, Doris Hörmann from the city archives found old postcards,” says Frech, “they are evidence of a 150-year-old cultural asset of the city that absolutely needs to be preserved.” Therefore, in this anniversary year we want to raise Steyr’s awareness of the swimming school again.

Memories and finds are requested by April 10th to: [email protected], by telephone at 0660/4608680 or by post: Marlen Haushofer Literaturforum, c/o Haager Str. 14, 4400 Steyr.

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