Ryland Pool Restoration Celebration

Bachelder Dutch Boy tiles were reproduced as part of the restoration of the Rotary Ryland Pool.

Bachelder 'Dutch Boy' tiles were reproduced as part of the restoration of the Rotary Ryland Pool.

Near-downtown residents got together today to celebrate the completion of historical restoration work on the Rotary Ryland Pool at Ryland Park in the Vendome neighborhood. Vendome Neighborhood Association president Tina Morrill presented restored tilework on the pool, as well as educational signage, a commemorative plaque, and a new sign for the entry to the pool.

The pool was originally built in the 1920’s, featuring the Batchelder “Dutch Boy” tiles around its perimeter wall. These tiles were later painted over, probably in the 1970’s. What’s worse, to make the paint adhere better, the tiles were sandblasted, eliminating their original glaze and much of their relief pattern.

In 2006, when the city of San Jose wanted to close the pool, the public outcry, massive efforts by a small group of volunteers, and $1.4 million in funding came together to save it. The pool reopened last summer, but the historical restoration work continued over the past year.

Reproduction Dutch Boy tiles were produced from a mold taken from a 1920’s era Batchelder tile found at an out-of-state antique tile dealer. A commemorative plaque was installed, recognizing the contribution of the Rotary Club in donating the original pool and funding the recent restoration work. An education placard was also posted, explaining the restoration proces, and also hopefully making the point that historic resources should not be treated as cavalierly as the pool and its tiles once were. Finally, a new sign was added at the entry to the pool, designed by Northsider Sonya Lu and fabricated by Brian’s Welding, just down the street from the park.

Ryland Pool sign

The new entryway sign at Ryland Pool.

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