Ed Cothren Pool History
Lt. Edward Cothren was born on June 5, 1920. He was the first African American Knox County resident killed in World War II. He fell in action in the Mediterranean area on October 22, 1944 at the age of 24. Raised by parents Mr. and Mrs. E.F. Cothren, he attended Austin High School and Knoxville College. His wife was Rose E. Cothren.
The Leslie Street Park Pool was built in 1945. It was named in honor of Lt. Edward Cothren on June 9, 1946. Former City Manager George Dempster and former City Councilman Milton Roberts requested that the pool be named in honor of Cothren.
The current facility was opened in the summer of 1995. It replaced the old Ed Cothren pool, which was sold to Eagle Distributing for their plant expansion. The land for the current facility was acquired by the City for the Beardsley Jr./Sr. High School on June 9, 1936. The school is now vacant but the property supports the pool and park facility.