Once ‘dream come true’ KCK swim club now ruins after decades of abandonment

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — What was once referred to as a dream-come-true swimming club now only remains as overgrown ruins more than 45 years after it was sold.

The Wyandot Swim Club (yes, that’s how it was actually spelled) was once a facility “… unmatched in the Midwest,” according to old articles from the Kansas City Kansan, provided by the Wyandotte County Museum.

The private club at 52nd and Parallel opened on July 4, 1958. It was complete with a locker room, a filter room and a 21-foot-long snack bar. It was also the first pool built to the Amateur Athletic Union’s standards, which could be utilized for competition.

On opening day, the pool served 2,200 swimmers, according to the Kansan. 1,600 people signed on as members in the first year.

The owners introduced a potential for a second pool if 5,000 members signed on. A year later, those plans began to move forward. The club ended up with two Olympic-sized swimming pools.

One of the goals from the beginning was to help develop championship aquatic teams from the area, a Kansan article stated. That goal was realized in 1975, when the club hosted the AAU National Championship swim meet.

The site was chosen in part because the Wyandot Swim Club was “…one of the few private swim clubs to boast two 50-meter pools,” according to the Kansan.

The Wyandot Swim Club hosted more than 1,000 swimmers over the course of the competition. Bleachers were built to accommodate 5,000 spectators. Top swimmers from this competition would be selected for the Pan-Am Games in Mexico City and the Japanese National Championships, contests second only to the Olympics.

“Wyandot Is a Dream Come True,” one headline read.

So what happened to that dream?

There isn’t a lot of information readily available about the club’s demise. Wyandotte County Museum curator David Hartman told FOX4 that the owners sold the club due to declining membership in the late ’80s.

“Some speculations were that, at this time, many people had their own pools in their backyard along with neighborhood pools becoming popular,” Hartman said in an email.

New owners changed the name of the pool to the Sunflower Swim Club and made other changes, which only aided in declining membership. Even less is known about this club, meaning it likely wasn’t around for very long.

Today, concrete barriers prevent vehicles from entering from Parallel Avenue. Collapsed roofs riddle the old club structures, and once-clear-blue waters have been replaced by a dense green sludge. Most of the 12.5-acre property sits obscured by overgrown woods — a dream come true, now just an old memory.

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