Dreamland Pool was founded by local businessman J. D. Booth in 1926. The community pool served as one of the area’s biggest attractions because of its many activities and convenient placing on Route 60 between Huntington, WV and Ashland, KY. Today the pool is owned and managed by the Kenova Parks and Recreation Board. It remains a family-friendly environment for recreational activities every summer.
Dreamland Pool was
built in 1926 by J. D. Booth, who owned an ice business and water wells. At 125
feet by 250 feet, it was the largest pool east of the Mississippi River at the
time. The depth ranges from a few inches to nine feet. The pool became wildly
popular and attracted crowds from all over the tri-state. In 1949 the Booth
family sold Dreamland to a group of businessmen including Fred Salem, who would
eventually become the sole owner.
Dreamland also housed a
popular three-story pavilion. The roof was a stage for Big Bands throughout the
1940s and 1950s and featured a dance floor. Big names such as Glenn Miller, Benny
Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, and Frank Sinatra entertained fans at
this historic location. On June 29, 1973 the pavilion burned down in a massive
fire. Ten firefighters responding to the fire were injured when a chlorine tank
exploded. The pavilion suffered far more damage than it had been insured for
and was never rebuilt. Three Kenova teenagers were charged with starting the
fire but their names were withheld from the public due to their age; their
identities have been a source of speculation for years. Soon afterwards the
City of Kenova purchased Dreamland from Fred Salem.
In recent years
Dreamland Pool has been suffering financial problems due to the cost of
maintenance and declining attendance combined with an aging infrastructure. In
2009 the pool remained closed for major renovations and repairs. Over the next
five years operating costs continued to exceed the income made each season. By the
summer of 2015 there were concerns that Dreamland would not reopen due to
prohibitive operational costs. However donations from various groups, volunteer
help, and assistance from Marathon Oil allowed badly needed repairs to be made
that were expected to save money in the long-term. The grounds at Dreamland
have been expanded in an effort to draw more people with extra activities. There
is now a skate park, a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, a tennis
court, picnic shelters, and a concession stand. The pool is also converted into
a haunted trail every Halloween for the C-K AutumnFest. Price for admission changes
depending on the time of the season but typically ranges from $2 to $5.