Soupy's Lakeside Pools

Nothing struck fear into a young boy like the high dive tower at Blakely's. Or perhaps you preferred the water slide at Maple Plunge. But to a young man, Lake Millerton or Lost Lake was the destination. Remember the ice rink in Pinedale? Post your favorite Summer Activity here.
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Soupy's Lakeside Pools

Postby mascm » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:31 am

When you talk about Soupy"s, you are talking about Lakeside. It was owned by Soupy Holmes and another well-known Fresnan whose name I am blanking on. At 13, I took swim lessons there, occasionally went to summer day camp there, and spend many hours just swimming. Ate lots of Sugar Babies. Wonderland was near Shaw and had the roller arena and pool and the sign. Lakeside was further up Blackstone, and probably near Bullard. They had enough land for archery, golf, and the big pool. I don't actually remember a lake, but maybe? Great summer place.

Long time Fresnan


Postby Long time Fresnan » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:33 pm

The pool that was at Bullard & Blackstone that was what is now 41, behind Target (which was Monty Ward) was Soupies Lakeside. I took swim lessons there, remember it well. The pool at Blackstone at Shaw, was Wonderland Pool that was behind Wonderland Roller Rink. At Clinton and Marks there was a Roller Town there plus around the corner on Marks was Icelandia Ice Skating.

debby fresno

Re: Soupie's

Postby debby fresno » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:12 pm

mascm is right on all accounts about Soupy's Lakeside Pools. The owners were Soupy & Vernice Holmes; the land itself was owned and leased to the Holmes by the Funch family. (Wonderland was at Blackstone north of Shaw, with apartments surrounding the pool.) Lakeside made for my fondest summertime memories of the 60's. To me and my sisters, cousins, and friends, it was paradise. Soupy was a teacher and later a principal; Vernice was the manager of Fresno State's Bookstore; so they were both in education the other nine months of the year. (Their son Scott just recently retired from teaching.) Through visiting their park-like place on Bullard just east of Blackstone, where I took my first swimming lessons, our families got to be good friends. They were thoroughly dedicated to teaching children how to swim. Their place was a safe haven, and they saw to it that kids minded their manners, and had a great time. They became like family to us, and we took many fun vacations with them.

Later, in the 80's and maybe 90's, Soupy & Vernice went to Fresno schools dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Santa in their classic red '56 T-bird, with a "say no to drugs" message; and Soupy played banjo and sang for the kids. They may have visited your kids or grandkids at Christmastime. Vernice is still very active in the community, goes to WWII Subvets events (Soupy was a Pearl Harbor Survivor), T-Bird club, banjo band practice sessions & events--like Tuesday mornings at Fig Garden Village; she also checks on, visits and helps friends who are hospitalized or bed-ridden. Sadly, we lost Soupy nine years ago yesterday to a long-term illness, but his legacy lives on. And grandson, who looks like Soupy, Troy, with his wife have just had a baby boy.

Troy Holmes

Re: Soupie's

Postby Troy Holmes » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:58 am

Debby Fresno- This is Soupy's grandson, Troy. My grandparents had fond memories of the Lakeside Pool. They always wished they would have purchased the land when they had the chance to. Soupy was the person who first taught me how to swim and I eventually became an all-american swimmer in college, just a testament to his teaching skills I guess. The funny part is my grandmother, Vernice, still has a picture of Lakeside hanging in her living room. She's doing awesome for a 93 year old Swedish woman, still driving all her "younger" friends around town. Anyways, it's great to see that my grandparents were such a great influence on so many people in Fresno. People like them don't come around everyday.

debby fresno

Re: Soupie's

Postby debby fresno » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:12 pm

Troy-- I was delighted to see your comments here! Did your grandma tell you I had posted here? (I ran it by her before I put my posts in, to be sure it was okay.) We are so proud to know and love your family! p.s. I saw the picture of you three at my mom's. You have an adorable boy; you're a beautiful family. God bless you all.

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Re: Soupie's

Postby neiljeff » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:57 am

In the late 1850's and early 1960's, My buddies and I spent as many Saturdays & Sundays as we could get our parents to let us, fishing at Lakeside in the big pond. This was a big deal because someone had to drive us out there from SE Fresno, drop us off and then pick us up. We bought fishing supplies and goodies to eat and sodas from Dominick's Liquor on the NW corner of Blackstone and Bullard. We cough a lot of Bluegill, Bass, and Crappie from that pond. It had a berm that was about ten feet tall and about that wide at the top going all around the circular, or oval pond. I believe we had been told many times that it had been a racetrack before being filled with water. A caretaker would charge us 50 cents each for fishing. Sometimes he didn't show up.

In the winter, on the foggy days, we could get away with building fire on the berm to keep warm. That was when the crappie fishing was at it's best. My biggest fish, of which I still have a photo, was a 3 1/4 pound bass. I think we only went to the pool one time out of curiosity. We preferred Blakely's pool out on West Tulare Ave, on the big property right just before you get to Clovis Ave. It was the site of an old mansion complete with a circular driveway lined with olive trees, and a old winery way in the back. It was later converted to a large complex which stands there today. I don't remember any pond, but the property was backed up against the canal called Fancher creek. For a young teenager, Blakely's was the best possible place to hang out in the summer, for the entry price, went from 60 to 75 cents, you get your hand stamped and could come and go all day, and hang out on the grass in the picnic area and visit with people who dropped by to visit and hang out. I still think of Blakeley's every time I see a bikini.

Dan Waterhouse

Re: Soupie's

Postby Dan Waterhouse » Wed May 18, 2011 2:11 pm

Lakeside. Oh the memories. Soupy taught me how to swim in the early 1960s and my mom managed the pool in the late 60s (she opened up and ran the concession stand and collected admissions). She was on very good terms with the Pinedale kids, who could be rough at times--those were the days of the Pinedale-Clovis feud, complete with gang rumbles. The pool was neutral ground, and the kids stood by my mom when the Clovis cowboys would show up looking for trouble. At any given time, she'd have a collection of chains, brass knuckles, switchblades and the odd pistol checked at the concession stand.

Soupy also sold fireworks during the summers off from Ernie Pyle Elementary. He was the Freedom Fireworks distributor in the Fresno area for many years. As another poster mentioned, Vernice managed the Kennel Bookstore at Fresno State for many years. She retired in the mid 1970s. Soupy lost most of his eye sight after being knocked down while refereeing Muni League basketball.

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Re: Soupie's

Postby ed24_93726 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:30 pm

Soupie was the owner it was called lake side pool , wonderland was at Blackstone and Shaw behind the old Blackstone Bowl. I use to go to both sure miss those days!

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Re: Soupie's

Postby Silverbiker » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:04 pm

It was Lakeside. I worked for Soupie in the early 60's. I also lived directly across the streed from there. There was the 2 pools, 1 for lessons and 1 for regular swimming with a high dive and a low dive. There was also a small 9 hole pitch and put golf course and a lake. I also remember wrecking Soupie's old 1940 green 2 door Ford coupe. I was taking trash from the pool that morning to the other side of the lake where we use to dump the trash and I hit a tree while pulling an old trailer he had. I ran into Soupie on the beach in Hawaii when I was stationed there in the Marine Corp in 1966. He was a great person to me and I will never forget the wonderful times I had there.

Mike Quercia
Ogden, Utah

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Re: Soupie's

Postby Captain » Thu May 31, 2012 12:01 pm

Soupie Holmes was a great guy. He was my 5th grade teacher, mid 50's, at Lafayette Elementary School. He also refereed Fresno State Football. In the late '50 we lived directly across the street from Lakeside pool, where the Energy House is now. I worked for Pitch and Putt golf course which was next to Lakeside. In the back of the property was a old race track that was filled (partially) with water. It seemed Mr. Holmes remembered every kid he ever taught.

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