Back in 1931, a Richmond man named Jimmie Scott purchased four forested acres in the quiet Rothesay neighborhood. Just south of Windsor Farms, on a bluff overlooking the James River, those wooded acres concealed a big secret: an abandoned quarry.
There is no certain date for when the nineteenth-century quarry ceased business operations, but local legend held that the quarry provided the stone used to build Philadelphia’s expansive New Public Building, now known as City Hall.
Children had long before discovered the water-filled remnants, but Jimmie Scott had grander plans for the site when he bought it. The next year, he opened The Philadelphia Quarry Club, a private swimming club. The $50 yearly membership fee was out of reach for most Richmonders, especially at the height of the Depression.
At first, the club leadership struggled to even build a permanent bath house. But despite financial difficulties, occasional algae blooms, toe-nibbling fish, and battles against the local nonpoisonous snake population, the club has survived to this day and now has more than 400 members.
Photo: The Valentine