The Cabot Street Bath in Boston was the first swimming pool in the U.S. When it opened in 1868, most of the houses in the neighborhood had no bathtubs. Several leaps in science and technology in the 20th century made swimming pools an even more popular option. The pool was supplied with clean water thanks to chlorination and filtration systems. Before these developments, the only way to clean a pool was to remove all the water and replace it.
The U.S. pool business developed with the invention of gunite, a material that allowed faster installation, more flexible designs, and lower costs than previous methods. In the postwar period, middle-classes became cheaper to buy, and there were also more affordable alternatives to gunite. Pool proliferation was accelerated even more by these factors. Above ground pool kits first appeared on the market in 1947, creating a completely new pool experience. Within a few years, single-unit pools would be sold and installed in a single day.
Below are some stunning vintage photos from William Bird that show the Swimming pools of New York City in the 1950s and 1960s.