The Old Swimming Hole

One of the many activities that the boys and girls in Heilwood enjoyed during the summer months was the “old swimming hole” located on nearby Yellow Creek. The youths of Heilwood created the spot by building a dam approximately 100 yards south of a wooden railroad bridge that took trains to the #2 mine tipple. The dam was constructed from abandoned railroad ties, carried by the older youths from the nearby tracks and laid across the creek lengthwise. This makeshift structure was supported by rocks thrown behind it, creating a stone breast.

A method for continually adding to the stone breast during the summer months was devised by the older youths – before anyone could swim, they had to place a pre-determined number of stones from the creekbed on the breast of the dam. There was even a “dressing area” located in a nearby grove of bushes.

A short distance downstream from the dam was an area known by some of the youths as “sandy bottom”. It was always nice to walk in this area and feel the smooth sandy bottom, as opposed to the normal rocky one along most of the creek. One possible explanation for the creation of this area comes from the railroad tracks running nearby. The railroad steam engines used a large amount of sand along the tracks and there were also several sandhouses located nearby. It’s possible that the sand from either source somehow got into the waters of either Yellow Creek or Leonard’s Run and was carried through time and deposited in this location.