Crystal Pool Natatorium

2035 2nd Avenue

Crystal Pool Natatorium facade, Cristalla Building, Seattle, December 4, 2007, Photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Crystal Pool Natatorium, Seattle, July 26, 1916, Photo by Asahel Curtis
Bethel Temple (previously Crystal Pool Natatorium), Seattle, November 1959, Courtesy Seattle Public Library (spl_wl_chu_00050)
Swimming class, Crystal Pool Natatorium, Seattle, 1939, Courtesy MOHAI (1986.5.8851)
Incorporation of Cystal Pool Natatorium facade, 2035 2nd Avenue, Seattle, May 27, 2020, HistoryLink photo by David Koch

2035 2nd Avenue

Among the most distinctive buildings built in Seattle was the Crystal Pool Natatorium. Designed by esteemed theater architect B. Marcus Priteca, it opened as an indoor heated saltwater (pumped up from Elliot Bay) swimming pool in 1915. With a prominent dome above the main entrance, and featuring an ornate terra cotta exterior, the venue was an attention grabber, prominently located on the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Lenora Street. The pool had a shallow wading section with a tall slide, a swimming section, and balconies with benches for observers. Within a few years, management increased business by periodically covering the pool with boards and offering roller skating and boxing. The venue could hold up to 2,000, and numerous conventions were held here. The Great Depression took its toll on the Crystal Pool, however, and the building was shuttered for a few years before resurfacing in 1943 as the Bethel Temple Pentecostal Church. After six decades, the church sold to developers in a rapidly gentrifying Belltown. In 2003 demolition began on the Crystal, the Cristalla apartment tower rising in its place. Preserved was the antique Italian Renaissance-style façade. A new dome was installed as a nod to the original.

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