This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Editor's note : In this regular series, The Tribune explores the once-favorite places of Utahns, from restaurants to recreation to retail.
When Tracy Booth was a kid in Nephi, the only swimming he did was in "the crick" except for the times he went to Park Ro-She (pronounced "ro-shay").
The North Springville indoor pool with a natural spring source was a hub for swimming in Utah County from the 1920s until its demise in the 1970s.
"We didn't have a swimming pool down there [in Nephi] but we used to go to Park Ro-She," Booth said.
And that was the case for most people in Utah County in the 1950s and 1960s: Park Ro-She was the place to swim even Brigham Young University swim classes were held there.
"You have to look at the time period. In the '30s, '40s and '50s, we didn't have televisions," said Lee Taylor, a historian with the Springville Historical Society who also frequented Park Ro-She as a boy. "It gave people an outlet."
And in its heyday, Park Ro-She wasn't just a pool. The facility eventually featured a snack bar, a bowling alley, a skating rink, a drive-in restaurant, go-kart racing and an outdoor dance hall with an open roof to reveal the stars. The club was affectionately called the "Las Vegas Club," but was also known as "The Talk of the Town."
Before Park Ro-She, the site was home to Glengarry Resort. And before that, it was a small pioneer settlement which some believe to have been an old Springville fort.
The location was paramount, since all the commercial properties operating there since 1924 have taken advantage of the natural warm spring.
When the Glengarry Resort was built in 1924, an article that April called it "Utah County's newest pleasure resort." Unlike others in the area at the time (including Utah Lake resorts and Provo River resort), Glengarry filled its pool with spring water by constructing a 35-foot concrete tunnel and filtering water out of a 12-inch pipe that was 1,280 feet long.
"There is sufficient water to fill the pool with fresh water every four hours," the article reads. "It makes one ask why its wonderful possibilities have not been recognized and capitalized long before."
By 1940, newspaper ads were calling Glengarry by the better-known name Park Ro-She. Ownership of the Glengarry changed hands in 1946 to Virgil and Edna Hansen and Harvey Robbins, and local myth suggests the "Ro" in the name was for Robbins, but the timeline doesn't support that.
The park continued to grow in the 1950s, despite a devastating fire at the Vegas Club that destroyed the outdoor dance hall in 1953. The dance club was reopened by 1957. The park added a miniature golf course and a skating rink in 1956, an outdoor pool in 1960 and in 1962, a Frost Top drive-in restaurant.
The Red Cross and BYU taught swim lessons at Park Ro-She and the pool housed a local swim team that Taylor said was "very competitive." The pool was "Home of the Springville Seals," according to a sign above a swim team photo from 1970.
The crystal quality of the spring water filling the pool didn't last, though.
At some point in the 1970s, the water in Park Ro-She's pools became concentrated with minerals and local authorities became concerned about the negative health implications for the kids who swam in it.
The Hansens, who appear to have had full ownership of the park by that time, closed Park Ro-She. The building was torn down in the late 1980s, Taylor said. The roller-skating building still stands but isn't used for skating.
Subsequent owner Norm Van Patten proposed the Park Ro-She Water Company, bottling water from a well on the site, according to Springville planning commission minutes. A bottling facility was built, but Van Patten said in an interview that he sold to Leslie DeeAnn "Dee" Mower, known as a founder of Neways Inc., a cosmetics and dietary supplement company. She was sentenced to prison in 2006 for income tax fraud along with her ex-husband, Thomas Mower. In 2007, her husband Kenneth Dolezsar was shot to death at a Village Inn in Sandy.
If you have any information or memories of Park Ro-She, its history or present-day activities, share them on our Facebook page.
If you have a spot you'd like us to explore, email email@example.com with your ideas. Thanks to Tracy Booth and Steve Wilde, who both suggested this week's edition of "Whatever happened to..."