RENSSELAER — The Rensselaer Parks Department recently dedicated two of their shelters at Brookside and Foundation parks.
The shelter closest to the LaRue Memorial Pool in Brookside is dedicated to Jimmy McFall, whose death in a local quarry prompted the city to install a community pool.
“We just called it the little shelter by the pool,” said Rensselaer Parks Department superintendent Joe Effinger. “Now it has a name attached to it.”
James Dean McFall died by drowning at age 12 in 1946 at the old Babcock Quarry. To keep kids from using the quarry as a swimming hole, the city began looking for funding not long after McFall’s death and opened its community pool in 1949.
The Rensselaer Republican covered the dedication of the pool in ‘49, noting, “One could instantly sense the pride of accomplishment that ran through the crowd (and) could instantly sense the importance of the occasion and feel the thrill provided by the interesting new playground that will stand as a monument to that little lad who died so tragically that June day.”
It was reported that 2,000-3,000 people were in attendance for the pool dedication, with many staying to take a dip or enjoy the new playground.
The pool celebrated its 70th year in 2019. Besides a few paint jobs and the addition of a sun deck in the 1970s, the pool looks similar to how it looked when it first opened.
The shelter at Foundation Park, with its main entrance located across from Pizza King, is named for Tom and Carolanne Effinger. Tom served as park superintendent for 25 years (1967-92) before son Joe assumed that role.
A teacher and administrator at Rensselaer Central School Corporation for 38 years, Tom was also a member of the Rensselaer Community Recreational Development Corporation for many years and served on the National Park Board.
Tom passed away in June of 2017 at the age of 74. Carolanne (Williams) Effinger passed away in April of 2016 at the age of 72.
The parks department will have ribbon-cutting ceremonies for both shelters at a later date.