Team Work Makes the Dream Work


It is said that to get things done right, it takes a village. Nothing could show the truth in this saying better than what the little village of Wanamingo did 50 years ago.

The town population was 574 people. The folks had heard about a community in Iowa who had constructed a pool for their town, and decided that might be something Wanamingo should take a look into. So Norm Edwards, Arland Sundry and Dale Mikkelson drove to Thompson, Iowa to look at a pool! A druggist, a gas truck driver and a band director said, "Sure, we can do that!' This, my friends, is what you call Faith! Sundry said, "Let's get some people interested!" After they convinced the Lions Club to donate $5,000.00. the project began!

The original quote from Custom Pools was $29,000.00. This included the main pool, the wading pool, 6 sand filters for the main pool, an extra filter for the wading pool, installing the piping for the filtration and chlorinator and a special concrete called gunite.

On October 17th, 1973, the contract was signed, the fundraising began, and volunteers were coordinated. Before the original contract was even signed in October, the small town had already raised $22,500.00, plus the $5,000.00 donation from the Lions Club!

On November 28th 1973 Custom Pools finished the cement work on the main pool tank, and the staking had been done by the volunteers. But then came spring!

In April 1973 the volunteers noticed the groundwater from the spring runoff was running into a hole. To prevent outside pressure on the pool, two check valves were installed into the deep end of the pool. This allows lots of water to seep in. The Mormons who were working on the project had pumped the water out to work on the tank. They noticed it worked well to just pump it into the hole. The hole just happened to flow into a drain tile that ended in Axelson Trailer Park, which became flooded! Ed Axelson was furious! He told the Mormons to stop, but they wouldn't. Finally Ed went to Arland Sundry and he was able to remedy the situation.

Now that that was fixed, it was time for the volunteers to get going. I would like to recognize some of them here, and give a list of all involved a bit later. Also I want to add that all the volunteer work was done after work on weekdays, and on Saturdays. No work was done on Sunday. This is what I found in my research......

John Tiller was the "lead engineer". I have known John all my life, and I know he is meticulous in the work he does, so I think he was the right man for the job.

Phil Floan installed the wiring of the electrical service in the building, filters, building lights, pool lights and outside wiring. That was quite a large contribution!

Ed Axelson did the bath house plumbing. He installed the pipes to easily drain them, which was required during the winter.

When it came time to lay sod around the pool, it just so happened the School District had decided to bulldoze and level the area north of the pool for a ballfield. This made free sod available. All the volunteers had to do was get it there! So the crew rented a sod cutter, and Dewey Thompson spent all day running the vibrating machine, not a pleasant job, while the others moved and placed the sod around the pool. I bet Dewey could have used a massage after that job was completed!!

Fundraising was how the money was raised. There were dances, rummage sales, flea markets, bake sales, dinners, a pig raffle, Tupperware Party, and even $1 was raised at a lemonade stand. Everyone did their part, and on July 17th of 1974, the pool was finished and ready to jump into!

So, July marks 50 years of fun in the sun, made possible by a town of 574 people who had a vision, and carried through to the end. That's "Teamwork makes the Dream work" in action! Following is a list of the volunteers who made it happen.

Ed Axelson, Ken Axelson, Dewey Berg, Gary Bakko, Marlyn Bordson, Gary Braget, Palmer Brandt, Norm Edwards, Phil Floan, Brad Fredrickson, David Fredrickson, Herb Fredrickson, Joel Fredrickson, Garvin Friese, Gunder Froyum, Don Greseth, Curt Haller, Herb Haugen, Oswald Haugen, Dyke Jackson, Steve Knapp, Dale Mikkelson, Gilman Myran, John Nelson, Roger Nelson, Virgil Nodland, Everett Ohr, Chris Romness, Bernie Satren, Smoke Shelstad, Merrill Solberg, Charlie Steberg, Arlund Sundry, Ragnar Swee, Dewey Thompson, and John Tiller. If you know of any other volunteers that were a part of this endeavor, please let me know so I can recognize them as well, in the coming July Celebration issue of the Messenger! Thanks, men, for a job so well done it is still in use today!

So, there you have it! Proof that dreams do come true, with a little help from our friends!

The pool will officially open on June 3rd, weather permitting. On the Wanamingo Pool- Face Book page, you will find the list of activities, pool fees, lesson times, and open swim information. Be watching the Messenger for the 50th Year Celebration activities!