An estimated crowd of 50 braved 90-plus temperatures at noon Thursday to honor a piece of Hope history as the Northside Pool was honored with historical marker.
The keynote speech was given by Dr. Roscoe Smith, who's name adorns the marker from his days as the first recreation director of City Park.

An estimated crowd of 50 braved 90-plus temperatures at noon Thursday to honor a piece of Hope history as the Northside Pool was honored with historical marker.
The keynote speech was given by Dr. Roscoe Smith, who’s name adorns the marker from his days as the first recreation director of City Park.
“This site served as the first municipal swimming pool for the African Americans to be located outside the larger cities of Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Fort Smith within the State of Arkansas,” Smith said.
“It offered thousands of African American youth the opportunity to swim for recreation prior to integration, and gave generations of youth something to do and somewhere to go,”he said.
“I never knew this was going to happen, but I can say it was not anyone person. This whole opportunity is about faith in this community,” he said, “The people came out and built this for our boys and girls. That is why there was no juvenile delinquency in the black community at that time. All up in Baltimore, all up in New York, they were rioting, but not in Hope, Arkansas.”
The original Northside pool, now a plot of grass and concrete, was constructed at a cost of $25,000 and featured underwater lighting. The dedication back then happened in August 1960, in the days that John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were running for the White House.
“We’re excited for this dedication; we’re excited for this historical marker. I’m very proud of the marker; I was able to view it before it was mounted. I am very pleased to help keep the tradition and history of Northside alive,” Mayor Steve Montgomery said.
Hazel Simpson, who was the principal catalyst for the 2017 dedication, said the pool had operated for 43 years before finally closing in 2004. Simpson along with then-city director Willie Walker had lobbied the City of Hope vigorously in the later parts of 2016 and into 2017 to have the marker done.
Simpson was specifically aiming to have the marker in time for the 2017 Yerger Reunion, which has been ongoing this week. Starting Wednesday, right after the July 4 holiday, the Reunion itself continues into Friday, where the highlight is an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting for the H.C. Yerger School Museum.  Friday’s activities also include an Alumni Banquet at Hempstead Hall from 7-9:00 p.m.
Saturday’s activities include a reunion committee meeting at Yerger Middle School at 10 a.m., followed by “Fun Day,” with games and an auction from 12 noon - 4:00 p.m. Simpson said the Reunion will close with a dance at Hope’s Fair Park Coliseum starting at 6 p.m.
As the Hope Star was preparing for press Thursday, the Yerger Reunion parade was scheduled to start at 6 p.m.