All of us at Ridgewood Pool are so very excited to open up our home to our fellow swim community later this summer. For those of you who may not be as familiar with our pool and the neighborhood it resides in, we wanted to give you a little background. Including the story of our beloved Ed Nebbins!
To appreciate the legend of Ed Nebbins, it’s important to first understand how Ridgewood came to be.
Back in the 1950’s, residents of the newly-built Orchard Ridge and Meadowood neighborhoods each gave what is today’s equivalent of $2,550 of their own money to purchase several parcels of vacant land, hire a contractor and build Ridgewood Pool. Why? Because of Ed Nebbins.
The tale of Ed Nebbins–who is also represented in our team logo–is shared with the youngest swim team members each year by head coach Bill Wuerger:
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Ed Nebbins who lived in the Orchard Ridge neighborhood. Every warm, sunny day, Ed and his friends would play baseball. When they were done playing, they were usually hot and sweaty. There was a pond nearby where Ed and his friends would go to cool off. While his friends swam and played, Ed, who didn’t know how to swim, would sit at the side of the pond and dangle his feet in the water for relief. One afternoon, one of Ed’s friends, trying to be playful, snuck up behind him and pushed Ed into the pond. A panicked and sinking Ed raised his hand above the surface for help, which caught the attention of one of his friends who pulled him safely to shore.
That night when Ed got home, he told his parents about almost drowning. Ed’s parents were very concerned about what could have happened, and wanted to do everything they could to make sure the children of the neighborhood knew how to swim, and had a safe place to do so. They reached out to residents of their own neighborhood, as well as those in adjacent neighborhoods. Everyone gladly agreed to donate money to build a swimming pool so everyone could learn to swim, have fun and be safe. The following summer, Ridgewood Pool, named for both the Orchard Ridge and Meadowood neighborhoods, opened.
Every morning, Ed and his friends took swimming lessons, and then after playing baseball in the afternoons, they would return to the pool to cool off. The boys had a particular affinity for racing, but quickly tired of racing each other. So they invited some friends from the West Side Pool to join them one particular weekend. Several Saturdays later, the Ridgewood Greenbuns swim team officially formed, appropriately named after the boys’ matching green swim suits.
Today, the legacy of Ed Nebbins lives on for hundreds of Greenbuns each summer, who have the opportunity to enjoy the sport of swimming because of the vision of a neighborhood who came together over sixty years ago.