The Bathhouse at Barton Springs Pool Background

Image looking at the front of the Barton Springs Bathhouse with trees surrounding the old entrance

The Barton Springs Bathhouse was built in 1947 to replace an earlier wooden structure at the same location. Its design is credited to Dan Driscoll, but Delmar Groos was also one of the architects on the project. It is a one-story masonry building with design influences of the Streamline Moderne style, which explains its abstract “ocean liner” appearance. It is listed in the Barton Springs National Register Archaeological and Historical District of 1985 and became a State Antiquities Landmark in 1994.

The Bathhouse is also home to the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center that has hosted the Splash! into the Edwards Aquifer Exhibit since 1998, with the mission of fostering stewardship of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer through education.

The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center is now closed in preparation for beginning construction on the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project.

Background of Joan Means Khabele

Image of Joan Means Khabele from her Austin High yearbook photo

Joan Means Khabele was born in Austin, Texas during a time when many African American Austinites forced to live in segregated East Austin created a vibrant, dynamic, and close-knit community. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in the Brown v. Board of Education decision that separating children in public schools based on their race was unconstitutional, and in 1956, Joan was one of the first Black students to enroll at all-white Austin High. When Joan and other Black students were not allowed to swim at Barton Springs during the Austin High annual senior picnic, she protested by jumping in the pool despite the rules barring Black people to swim. She along with other activists bravely defied the segregationist policies of the time during these “swim ins,” which eventually led to the integration of Barton Springs pool. Joan went on to earn degrees from the University of Chicago and UCLA, worked in the Peace Corps, and taught in several African countries. After eventually moving back to Austin, she went on to have three children and eight grandchildren. She passed away in 2021. More information is available in the submitted application for renaming the Bathhouse.

Question title

Would you like to provide your endorsement to rename the Bathhouse at Barton Springs Pool to the Joan Means Khabele Bathhouse at Barton Springs Pool?

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Question title

If you would like to endorse the renaming proposal, please enter your name here.

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Question title

If you would like to provide additional feedback or comments about the proposal to rename the Bathhouse to the Joan Means Khabele Bathhouse, please share here.

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Demographic Information

The Austin Parks and Recreation Departments asks for the following information in order to help identify whether we are connecting to our diverse community effectively. We aim to have participants represent the people in the communities we serve. Your responses are optional and are appreciated.

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