Restoration of San Pedro’s empty and graffitied Gaffey Street Pool started early last year in time for an opening this month. But today comes news of a substantial delay, because crews excavating the site unearthed an old military tunnel, the Daily Breeze reports.
The discovery of "one of Fort MacArthur’s World War II military tunnels" was actually made five months ago, but it brought construction to a halt as crews were forced to reevaluate the land's stability. The fort guarded the Los Angeles harbor until 1974, according to the Fort MacArthur Museum, which now houses artifacts found inside tunnel—"wood and eating utensils." Another hiccup in the timeline? Finding an historically-accurate match for the pool's blue bottom tiles, according to the Daily Breeze.
The pool has sat drained and closed to the public since the 1990s over concerns about the stability of the hillside. The abandoned pool proved to be a magnet for taggers, and in 2009, the director and curator of the nearby Fort MacArthur Museum won funding for a major rehab.
Locally, the Gaffey Street Pool is known as the "Hey, Rookie" pool, a nod to its World War II heritage. "Hey Rookie" was a traveling Army show during the war that starred an actor who was stationed at Fort MacArthur. On its travels, it raised enough funds ($250,000) to build the pool, which opened in June 1943. After the war, the pool opened to the public and remained so until it was closed.
The restored pool will be joined on the grounds by a new community building and a picnic area.