Georgetown Blue Hole on the San Gabriel river

Narratives from the Georgetown's Yesteryears Book

A special thanks to The Georgetown Heritage Society and Martha Mitten Allen for letting us post these wonderful first-person stories.

See Foreword and Preface

Note - some people say the reason the Blue Hole was so blue was that the laundry at the top of the bluff overlooking the blue hole poured their wash water down into the river at that point, and back then; they used a lot of bluing to make the whites look whiter - so it made the water blue or at least bluer - if this is true we can't confirm.


"Blue Hole, the Test"

Billie Hoffman - Interviewer: Theresa Wineinger

Blue Hole, the hole right above the South San Gabriel River bridge, was a gorgeous spot of water that was crystal clear. It was a gathering place for young people, especially boys, to swim. Today it's nothing like it was then. They put that dam in the river. Old Mr. Imhoff, who had a machine shop a block from that, was the instigator of damming up the Gabriel. But Blue Hole was something to behold. It was really a "blue hole." There was an old cottonwood tree over on the north side that had a rope and a swing with a stick through that rope. And anyone who wanted to dive off of it could swing off of that rope. It was said that none of the swimmers had ever been able to hit the bottom...

It was said in those days that a boy was accepted when he could swim across Blue Hole and swim back without stopping, and also get on his bicycle and pump up the hill that was there that was then much higher than it is now because they cut it down in height when they put that highway in. When you could swim across Blue Hole and back and pump up jail hill on your bicycle without stopping, you were recognized as one of the fellows.

From The Good Old Days In Town

Berna Sillure Cooke - Interviewer: Rodney K. Kaase

I had a friend, Lois Magee, who was two years older than me, and I went everywhere she did. Everything that she would do—that was just perfect with me—I could do it too. She had a pony that she rode all the time. There was a friend of my mother's, an older woman, who had a horse, [and she let me ride it sometimes] and she had a sidesaddle. My friend was riding astride, but this lady was up in years, and she had grown up with a sidesaddle, so I had to ride sidesaddle. Every time this friend of mine would go somewhere on her horse, I would follow.

So we went down to the river to Blue Hole, and Blue Hole wasn't what it looks like now. It was deep and blue, and they used to say it was hard to find the bottom or there wasn't any bottom and such as that. So nothing would do, she put her horse in and began to swim him across to the north side from the south side. Well, of course, I followed her. I got across, but I had never ridden a horse across a river before, and especially Blue Hole.

And I think back to it, and I think what a crazy thing it was for me to do. I didn't ride near as much as she did, and it was a borrowed horse at that, and I had to go, and they had to saddle it for me; it was a big horse. I was fourteen or so years old then, and she was two years older.