Vermack Swim and Tennis

Meredith Ogden Conklin enjoys a dip in the family pool, located along the creek on the same land where Vermack Swim and Tennis is located today. Her brother, Hank, emerges from the pool in the background. Their parents, Henry and Leila Harris Ogden, owned Donaldson-Bannister Farm from 1946 to 1956.  

When Lois Pattillo purchased Donaldson-Bannister Farm, the property was 26 acres and included the house that still stands at the corner of Chamblee Dunwoody Road and Vermack Road. The land extended along Vermack Road past what is now Vermack Ridge and Vermack Swim and Tennis. One of the changes she made to the estate was the addition of a swimming pool.

Pattillo married and became Lois Pattillo Bannister while living in the home. She built her pool within the creek on the property. For some 40 years, from about 1935 until 1975, a swimming pool existed on the same property that is now Vermack Swim and Tennis. This was not unusual, as Bannister originally purchased the home as a summer home, and summer homes in the area often had swimming pools.

Steve Griffeth, who moved to a house on Chamblee Dunwoody Road with his family in 1961, first told me about the swimming pool. When he was a young boy riding his bike and exploring the area, he discovered the pool. There was a gate that could be lifted to allow water to fill the concrete and stone enclosed area. He recalls a deck, bath house and lights. Trees and other growth obstructed view of the pool from Vermack Road.   

Families who once lived on the property have confirmed they swam at the creek pool. Hank Ogden and Meredith Ogden Conklin lived in the home with their parents, Henry and Leila Harris Ogden, between 1946 and 1956. In 2018, they visited the Farm and shared their memories with Dunwoody Preservation Trust, including swimming at the pool.

Ogden and Conklin remember the wooden bath house having two changing rooms. There were also picnic tables. Ogden says there was a rock quarry in the area, about 200 yards north and west of the creek. The bridge over the creek was wooden, and Vermack Road was a dirt road.       

From 1956 until 1974, Frank and Hortense Smith lived in the home along with their children Frank and Bonnie. Bonnie Smith Nichols has returned to Donaldson-Bannister Farm and recalls her family swimming in the pool along the creek.  

The Roberts family lived at the Farm for a couple of years between Bannister and Ogden. Ann Renfroe shared with me several years ago that she swam with the Roberts children in this same pool.  

A 1954 advertisement in the Atlanta Constitution describes the property as Boxwood Farms, 26 acres including a swimming pool with dressing room. Donaldson-Bannister Farm went by the name Boxwood Farms during the years of Bannister, Roberts, Ogden and Smith.

In 1977, Vermack Swim and Tennis Club was established and has been enjoyed by many through the years. Evidence of the pool that was along the creek many years ago can still be seen.

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