The Way Back: The Water’s Fine

The Water's Fine

Anne Burchart Boucher, left, and Billy Sunday, ’52, posed for this photo at Barton Springs on June 5, 1952. Our city’s favorite pool hasn’t changed much in the intervening 61 years—and neither has its iconic status as a top hangout for the UT community.

Longhorns have been cooling off in the pool’s famously chilly water, which hovers around 68 degrees, for as long as the University has existed. A 1919 Cactus Yearbook story describes a spring day when a few professors cut loose: “They mistook Barton Springs for the fountain of youth, and renewed their acquaintance with the antics of childhood along its more or less green banks.” And this 1933 Cactus sentiment remains as true today as ever: “Barton Springs robs the library of many of its occupants.”

The pool’s status as the place to cool off predates not just UT, but even the city of Austin. “The archeological records go back 10,000 years,” says Bill Bunch, executive director of Save Our Springs Alliance. “Native Americans went there for water. It was likely a community place, a lot like it is now.”


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