In the 1950s, the Bathey House, now the Trolley Car Cafe, in East Falls was one of the only outdoor swimming pools in the area.
Kids would line up just to take a dip. The pool house would get so full that swim time was limited. Children would be whistled out after an hour and a fresh group of kids would file in.
The building was closed down in the late 1950s during the Polio epidemic because people in the area didn’t know where the virus was coming from, and at the time, there wasn’t a vaccine for the illness. The building was abandoned for 60 years and the structure was falling apart.
The town of East Falls didn’t want to destroy the landmark, so the town community group called Ken Weinstein, owner of the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy, and asked him if he would like to do anything with the building.
They spent significant time and money to get the Bathey House back on its feet, and the Trolley Car Cafe at the Bathey House was born.
This video was produced as part of the collaborative media program of the University of the Arts and WHYY/NewsWorks.