Vendome Neighborhood Association

About Ryland Pool

About Ryland Pool

Ryland Pool is located within Ryland Park, which is bounded by First Street, Ryland Park Drive, North San Pedro, and Fox Avenue, and located in the Vendome neighborhood of San Jose.

It is oval in shape and about 89 feet long and 68 feet wide. The depth of the pool is approximately two feet with a slope to five feet in the center. A curb projects eighteen inches above the concrete pavement that surrounds the pool, where historic Batchelder tiles are inlaid. There are diamond shaped tiles which are also believed to be historic in nature interspersed with the Batchelder tiles.

About Ernest Allan Batchelder

Batchelder tile #78, free of blue paint.
closeup of Batchelder tile

Batchelder was a leading designer of the American arts and crafts movement. His products earned a gold medal at the 1915 San Diego Exposition.

One of his last and largest projects was the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania, built by the famous chocolate manufacturer in 1930, in order to give jobs to many local residents who would otherwise have been unemployed during the Depression. Batchelder tiles were used on the walls, floors and stair risers of a dazzling fountain room. It is believed the Dutchboy tiles on Ryland Pool is part of the Chocolate Shoppe tile series also used in Chocolate Shoppe in downtown Los Angeles which still stands today.

Ryland Pool History

The pool was the project of the Rotary Club of San Jose, circa 1926-1927. It was designed and built as a wading pool and as an enhancement to Ryland Park. Many residents and non-residents initially learned to swim in Ryland Pool.

Ryland Pool, circa 2005.
Ryland Pool, circa 2005

Over the years, Ryland Pool underwent minor as well as major changes and upgrades. In November 2007 the City of San Jose Parks and Recreation Department proposed a new Master Aquatics plan. Ryland Pool was not included as one of the pools to be reopened. There was sufficient public outcry so that the City reconsidered its decision and instead allocated monies to have it brought up to code and reopened with a target opening date of June 2008. A Capital Project Advisory Committee (CPAC) was formed to work with the city, and was comprised of neighbors from the Vendome Neighborhood Association, Northside Neighborhood Association, Historic Hensley District Neighborhood Association and St. James Historic Neighborhood. Considerable amount of time was initially spent convincing the City to bring it up to code to be reopened, and to preserve the historic integrity and elements of the pool. A thank you goes to the San Jose Historic Preservation Commission for their recommendations to the City; they both strengthened and aligned with the insistence on historic preservation made by the CPAC.

Tiles covered with blue paint.
Tiles covered with blue paint

Starting in February 2008, the pool underwent basic construction and was brought up to code. The pool reopened on June 23rd for the 2008 Aquatics Season, after which time the historic rehabilitation will begin. Of particular concern is a blue coating over the tiles and curb and how to remove it without impacting the tiles. The City has agreed to allocate monies for the historic preservation effort, specifically for payment for an Architectural Conservator to provide expertise about the pool's historic preservation and the correct approach to use. In addition, Ryland Pool currently enjoys candidate city landmark status, which it is hoped to be changed to full city landmark status as part of the historic rehabilitation effort.

Ryland Pool: The Future

It has been said that children are one measurement of the success of any public space project. With Ryland Pool rehabilitated and restored as much as it can be to its former state of whimsical and wonderful, we believe the children of San Jose and surrounding cities will benefit from this great space, and that it will strengthen the family presence which adds vitality to this jewel of a public park.

timeline of Ryland Pool rehabilitation