According to a few knowledgeable residents, the Ketchikan Aquatic Center, as this swimming complex was originally known, was built some time in the early 1970s. It was eventually renamed to the Mike Smithers Pool in honor of a long time and well-loved swimming coach of the town, who succumbed to Leukemia just over 2 decades ago.
Only after the completion of the new Gateway Aquatic Center in 2012 did this pool close its doors for the last time. Ever since, it has been sitting abandoned, awaiting its fate.
In the spring of 2014, a contract was awarded for the demolition of this building within a 6-month period.
I had some friends who are in the thick of the construction industry and THANKFULLY, they thought of me before they wrapped up the preparations for the demolition proper.
I arrived just as the light was about to shift to a cooler color, which lend to a more eery charm that only abandoned buildings can possess. Since the pool was drained, I thought I wanted to capture the pool filled with something one last time and what better than with light? So I asked the construction guys, who were talented skateboarders, to skate around the pool with a high-powered flashlight in hand.
I really like how the pool now appears to be glowing from the inside and how the light streaks add that final burst of life before it all gets brought down forever.
If you've made it this far, THANK YOU for reading! :)
I would like to thank Geri Lewis and Julie Slanaker Lekwauwa for their invaluable insight to this wonderful piece of history.
I've also questioned whether I should write a separate post on the technical photography and post-processing aspects with my thought processes narrated. If you'd like to see that, let me know in the comments!
Until next time, keep creating art and don't give it up for anything!