When John Reynolds purchased a rundown Texas home two years ago, his intention was to renovate it and sell it for a profit, but now that he’s discovered a fully intact vintage pool in the backyard, he says he will never let it go.
He discovered the pool three months after buying the property when heavy rainfall revealed that the backyard might contain a hidden gem buried under a mountain of junk and debris.
According to Reynolds, the previous owner had been a hoarder, and he said that the property was in total chaos.
“There was crap from one end of the property to the next,” Reynolds said.
He’d purchased the Mineral Wells property from the county for back taxes, just weeks before it had been scheduled to be demolished. Paying just $15,000, he planned to restore the house, which was built in 1955, filled with junk, and had about 100 feral cats roaming the property.
He’d noticed that an area of the yard was always boggy even though the area hadn’t seen any rain in several weeks, but fixing the backyard was about the last thing on his to do list.
But he was in yard one night with a friend after a heavy rain storm had filled the hidden pool to the brim and he noticed that a person would start sinking into the ground in certain areas, while in other areas, the ground was firm. So, they got a couple of pitchforks and began digging into the soft spots.
The first thing they discovered was the transmission of a 1979 Buick La Sabre. As they kept digging, the perimeter of a pool and spa started to emerge, and to Reynolds eyes, it was enormous.
Curious now, he attempted to contact the original owners but discovered that one was dead and the other was 91. He was able to get in touch with a daughter of the owners, who agreed to meet him at the property. She arrived with a photo album that was full of old polaroid’s of the property, including numerous photos of the pool as it was being built, and pictures of people sitting around it and playing in it.
“It was really beautiful. And I thought, what a shame. So, I did what any sane person would do. I decided to dig it up,” Reynolds said.
He reasoned that he’d have to clean it eventually anyway, and he didn’t want to live next to a mosquito infested malaria pit in the meantime.
But the job turned out to be a massive undertaking.
He started getting estimates on what it would cost to renovate it and was quoted upwards of $80,000 – far more than he was willing to spend. But he found a local pool man who said that the pool was worth saving after learning that it had been built by Barber Pool Company in Weatherford, a highly esteemed pool builder. It took the man 10 months to empty the pool, carrying junk out with a shovel and wheel barrow. He charged him just $5,000 to do it.
The stuff they found in the pool was as varied as could be imagined.
“It was full of dirt, stagnant water, furniture, appliances, a 79 Buick La Sabre, a mobile home, asbestos, trash, all of the carpet that was ever in the house, motor oil, venetian blinds… There were trees in it, bricks, old street chunks of the interstate nearby. It had every nightmare you could ever imagine,” Reynolds said.
John Reynolds’ hidden gem. Would you have believed there was a pool there? After the trash had been removed, he discovered that the pool was in pretty good shape. There were some hairline cracks in the plaster that had otherwise held up remarkably well. It was horribly stained, but now that he’s painted it, he says it looks great.
He had a leak detection company come out, and discovered that all of the existing plumbing still worked, and except for a leak in the spa, everything was good.
So, he purchased some used equipment from a man whose home and pool had been destroyed in a tornado.
“I scored a Pentair Challenger pump, a Pentair DE Filter, a Polaris cleaner and booster pump and a RayPak 400,000 BTU heater for $800,” Reynolds said.
All told, his out-of-pocket expenses were under $10,000, and he now owns a perfectly intact vintage pool, with all of its original decking, coping, waterline tiles, grout, inlet nozzles, and drain covers.
“I bought the house to turn it around and sell, but now with the pool, I’m not letting go of this house ever.”