Approaching Kite from the east on Highway 57, you cross the Little Ohoopee River. The remains of a very large swimming pool stand between the river and the buildings discussed later in this post. Martha Claxton Hill writes: The swimming pool was called “Beeline Springs”. Earnest Claxton owned all of the land around the pool. It was a special place in its day. In a time when private pools were a domain of the wealthy, public pools such as this were among the most popular recreation spots.
Ernest Claxton’s daughter, Lynn Paul Neal penned the following remembrance in Emanuel County’s 2013 Bicentennial Celebration Book. Thanks to Mary Ann Smith for bringing it to my attention and procuring permission from Mrs. Neal to share it here:
Remember Bee Line Springs?
Earnest Claxton built the Bee Line Springs Swimming Pool and Recreation Park just outside of Kite on the Ohoopee River. It had a skating and dancing pavilion that was also used for reunions and family get-togethers.r
Three artesian wells supplied icy cold water for the swimming pool. One side of the pool had dressing rooms and there were cabins that were rented on the property.
Several nationally known bands of the late 1920s and 1930s played there. Ernest would find a band enroute from Miami to New York City or vice-versa and book them to stop on their way to play for a one-night dance. These occasions drew tremendous crowds.
You can still see the old swimming pool outline thru the trees on the south side of Hwy 57 near the ‘Hoopee River.
Many public pools featured skating rinks, bowling alleys and/or restaurant, but this structure is too small to have been either of those. And Martha Claxton Hill notes that it was not here when the pool was open. Grady C. Riner writes: That block building was built years after the pool was grown over and broken. It was built as a juke joint ( in today’s words a bar). It had the juke box for music and dancing. After it was closed as a juke joint it was used as a house. My aunt lived in it for years with her two young boys.
A shed-sized structure is located just to the left of the larger building.
My grandmother, Dorothy Kight Cross Murray, and her first husband, Bill Cross, managed Beeline Springs in the early 1930’s. When she told us kids about Beeline Springs, she made it sound more resort than juke joint. But my daddy, her son-in-law said it was for sure, a juke joint. Thank you for the wonderful photographs and history preservation!
My grandmother lived in the house in the 3rd pic in the 60’s .. we carried a LOT of water from the springs & the pool was empty at the time she lived there – it was just a hang out spot for young people 🙂
The swimming pool was called “Beeline Springs” Ernest Claxton owned
all of the land around the pool. It was a special place in it’s day.
Thank you so much, Martha! I’ll add that information to the description.
I liked “juke joint” too! Knew exactly what you were talking about. Interesting about the pool, though. Thanks!
Public swimming facilities usually always had a Concession stand and a place for changing. These buildings could have served those purposes.
I thought of that, too. Thanks, Carol!
Love this mystery! Hope someone knows and will comment here….
“Juke joint” — Thanks for my first smile of the day!
That block building was built years after the pool was grown over and broken. It was built as a juke joint ( in todays words a bar) It had the juke box for music and dancing. After it was closed as a juke joint it was used as a house. My aunt lived in it for years with her two young boys.
Thanks, Grady. I think that’s cool.
You can’t go juking without a Juke Joint.