Yeadon’s Nile Swim Club Earns Place in History as 1st Black-Owned U.S. Swim Club

David Bjorkgren
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Nile Swim Club in Yeadon was designated a historical site by Pennsylvania Saturday, receiving its own historic marker at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, writes Nathaniel Lee for the Philadelphia Tribune.

The club, at 513 S. Union Ave., was the first Black-owned swim club in the nation, established in

“They wanted us to join a swim club but unfortunately we weren’t able to join the pool that was in Yeadon at that time,” said Denise Stewart, daughter of Elmer Stewart, one of the club’s founders, “so our parents, along with other friends and neighbors decided to do something about it and the rest is history.”

In 1957, Zoe Mask, Carson Puriefoy and Elmer Stewart, who were Black, were denied membership at the whites-only Yeadon Swim Club.

So they built their own club, opening in 1959.

Yeadon Mayor Rohan K. Hepkins noted ironically that Nile Swim Club is still here today, but that the Yeadon Swim Club is gone.

Nancy Moses, chair of the Pennsylvania Historical a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to Honor Jim Croce’s Legacy and Museum Commission, dedicated the marker.

“Each one celebrates Pennsylvania’s most important people, places and events that have made this Commonwealth so very special,” she said.

Read more at the Philadelphia Tribune about the Nile Swim Club’s place in national history.

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