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Opened as a private business in 1925 and operated by the city of Kenova each summer since 1974, Dreamland pool has been attracting fun-seekers for nearly 100 years.

Grocer J. D. Booth of Kenova also had an ice business and had water wells for his ice house. Thinking about businesses that used water, he came up with the idea of a swimming pool. Built on the edge of the Big Sandy River where U.S. 60 crosses into Kentucky, Dreamland was an immediate success, partly because it was convenient to both Huntington and Ashland, Kentucky.

The pool was constructed on an imposing scale—125 feet by 250 feet—and graduated from only a few inches at its shallow end to a depth of nine feet at the other. A dance pavilion, added to the roof of the main building in the 1930s, was the scene of dances featuring touring big bands such as those of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong, as well as local musical groups.

In 1949, the Booth family sold Dreamland to a group of Huntington businessmen, including Fred Salem, who later became sole owner. On June 29, 1973, as Salem was negotiating to sell the pool to the city of Kenova, a fire destroyed the three-story building topped by the dance pavilion. The purchase was completed nevertheless, and the pool opened in May of 1974 for its first season under municipal ownership.

The popular pool was closed in 2009 for major repair and renovation and reopened Memorial Day weekend 2010. In recent years, a beach volleyball court, a skate park, and other features have been added.

Written by James E. Casto