Architectural Salvage & Reproductions
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Alum Rock Park Natatorium and Vintporium's Virtual California Tile Museum

alum rock park demo lost natatorium swimming pool san jose Tile Vintporium

The Alum Rock Tile Mystery 

Alum Rock Park Swimming Pool Natatorium

Founded in 1872 and originally known as the "Reservation," Alum Rock Park is a local natural wonder.  By 1890 to 1932 the park was a health resort complete with stone carved mineral baths, tea gardens, restaurant, zoo, dance pavilion, railroad and indoor swimming pool.

Vintporium Alum Rock Park Natatorium Virtual Tile Museum Vintage Swimming pool

The Natatorium featured a heated indoor pool with a slide and diving boards and diving platforms. One could rent freshly washed towels and swimsuits and have access to private hot sulfur mineral baths.

Sadly, by the 1970’s, the Natatorium, as well as the rest of Alum Rock Park, had started to decay due to its age. San Jose seems to have had lost the will to restore the cherished park.

 Today the park is still decaying but it is also heavily visited, due in part to its numerous hiking trails, picnic spots, and its Youth Science Institute. Hopefully one day the residents of San Jose will fund the repairs necessary to rebuild the rustic stone works, mission revival auxiliary buildings and path lighting that symbolized the park as a very special place.

Vintporium Alum Rock Park Natatorium Virtual Tile Museum Vintage Swimming pool

On my hike I spotted this debris embedded in the side of the creek’s bank, having been dumped there as a cheap material to reduce erosion. I believe the tile to be one of the few remnants of the Natatorium. Let me know if you remember the tile that was used in the building so I can prove my hunch. Email

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