AUSTIN, Texas — Barton Springs Pool isn't just a pool – it's a beloved landmark that has been around for nearly a century. In fact, it's so appreciated that a group of volunteers dedicates their time to keeping the swimming hole clean and beautiful.
"It's the jewel. I mean, it's the center of a whole lot of people's universe," said Steve Barnick with Friends of Barton Springs Pool.
It's a crown jewel of Austin that swimmers like Barnick want to keep beautiful for years to come.
"The regular swimmers are here, bright and early in the morning," he said.
But at one time, Barton Springs was privately owned – until Andrew Zilker sold the land to the City of Austin to become Zilker Park.
In the 1920s, the City expanded the swimming area and built sidewalks around the pool.
About once a month, Barnick and other volunteers with the Friends of Barton Springs Pool meet up and grab their brushes, scrubbing, sweeping and spraying.
"You'll see some green yuck accumulating on the rails. So we'll go around and put a shine on them," Barnick said.
It's a labor of love that volunteers like Marc Czopek started decades ago.
"When you've actually gone here and cleaned up a little bit after people, the next time you come back, you're going to be a little more respectful and things like that," Czopek said.
Because Barton Springs isn't your average pool. It measures three acres in size, and the deepest part is 18 feet.
"It's insanely cool. That's what it is. It's insanely cool," Czopek said.
And the water is cool, too. The pool is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68 to 70 degrees.
Czopke took his first dip in the pool 35 years ago.
"Jump in. Because you're not really – you don't really live in Austin unless you've been in Barton Springs at least once in your [life]. Preferably you stand for about 10 minutes. Then when you get out, you're going to feel the magic," he said.
On a 100-degree day, it's a refreshing way to cool off and relax and an experience that's authentically Austin.
This article is part of KVUE's ongoing series, Authentically Austin, which shines a spotlight on the places that make Austin unique.