PONCA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- If you could dream up a swimming pool it might look something like this one, 50 feet by 150 feet, 310,000 gallons of cool water set in a Romanesque Revival, castle fairyland.
Welcome to the Wentz Camp and Pool, first opened in August, 1930 and still open to the swimmers of Ponca City.
"It's just a great pool man," boasts Ponca City Parks and Recreation Director Eric Newell. "There aren't many more beautiful pools that I've seen."
This park and public pool were among the reasons Newell took the job with the city over the winter.
Ever since he's been dreaming up ways to use this magnificent park and its crown jewel overlooking the city lake and beneath one of the only climbable water towers in the state.
Newell says, "It throws you back to the old ambiance, of what grandeur was."
Back in the late 1920's Lew Wentz was among the top ten richest men in the United States.
he was an oil man with a big heart who gave money to disabled children, would be college kids, and the children of Ponca City.
This camp, the cabins, the golf course, and the pool were all built for the people of this community.
"That's what the sign says by the pool," directs Newell. "to the boys and girls of Ponca City."
He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, sparing no expense in construction.
When he died in 1949 he donated the whole place to the city and it's been open ever since.
"I got here and I was just in awe of how beautiful it was," says Pete, "and just the unique atmosphere that it can create."
Lew Wentz would be happy to know his gift is still giving, that fairy tales in the form of castles and cool water still exist, happy endings too except this fairy tale is still unwinding, still glistening in a summer sun that never sets.
For more information on the Wentz Camp and pool go to http://www.poncacity.com