A California First: The Free-form Swimming Pool

In 1916, Charles Greene came up with the pool’s inventive design as a way to preserve a colony of live oaks. The interesting, abstract shape they inspired is legendary as California’s — and possibly America’s — first free-form swimming pool. A broad, moss-speckled brick stairway flanked by two bathhouses leads from the house to the 150,000 gallon, 9-foot-deep pool; Greene designed the bathhouses to match the architecture of the main house. On the west end of the pool, Greene placed a secluded platform, shaded by oaks, that affords maximum picturesque views of the natural scenery. In the 1950s, San Francisco’s famed postwar landscape architect, Thomas Church, designed the wooden cabana and pool house that sits on the south end of the deck.