LAMPASAS — More than 150 years ago, early settlers and visitors believed the springs that flowed through Sulphur Creek had curative powers and were capable of healing a variety of illnesses.
With the healing waters as a focal point, cattle drives, stagecoach and freight routes diverted to the small but growing town of Lampasas. The springs would later be named after early settler and landowner John Hancock.
Hancock Springs Free Flow Pool still operates today as one of two city-owned swimming pools. The combination of Hancock Springs and the newer Hanna Springs Pool draws visitors from outlying areas who want to beat the searing summer heat.
Hancock Springs Pool is open to the public from Thursday through Sunday each week. The cool spring waters maintain an average temperature of between 68 and 72 degrees.
Pool Manager Darby Maceyra said the main differences between the two pools are the environment and a matter of choice.
“People say they come here, to Hancock Springs, because it’s more refreshing,” Maceyra said. “This is a natural, spring-fed pool with no chlorine, and when it’s 100 degrees or more outside, this is the one that cools you down.”
There is a concession stand on site, but the old park-like plantation setting with abundant shade trees beckons visitors to bring a picnic lunch.
“We are also really proud of the ‘Moonlight Swim’ events held in the summer,” Maceyra said.
“We open the pool one evening in June, July and August from 7 to 11 p.m. We ask everyone to bring food, and we set up a potluck supper. We have a (disc jockey) or live band, and everyone wears glow-in-the-dark necklaces for safety in the water. It is a pool party where everyone has fun and nobody meets a stranger.”
The next “Moonlight Swim” is scheduled for Saturday. The pool is in Hancock Park on Sulphur Creek at the intersection of U.S. Highways 281 and 190.
Hanna Springs Pool, at 501 E. North St. in Hanna Springs Park, is a family-friendly destination. The pool features a water slide, mushroom fountain, water bucket fountain and a gradual beach entry into the shallow end of the pool’s splash zone.
The pool, which is more modern and chemically-regulated, opened in 2002. Mariah Jones, the pool’s assistant manager, said the water slide is enjoyed by all age groups.
“Parents and kids love the accessibility of the pool,” Jones said. “The smaller kids really enjoy coming over here.”