May 19, 2024

Located in Kenovo, WV, this is Dreamland Pool. It has been a staple of summers at my grandmother’s house for as long as I can remember… so naturally, I had to bring the littles here on their first visit to the area.

Dreamland was founded in 1926, when local grocer J.D. Booth decided a pool was needed, and the wells he used for his ice business could get the job done. Strategically located between Huntington, WV and Ashland, KY, it didn’t take long to establish itself. Although the pool was “cool”, and the largest one east of the Mississippi for its time, it was the three story music pavilion that brought about its early fame. During the 30’s and 40’s many big name acts performed there, to include Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Glen Miller, just to name a few. (Due to segregation Armstrong couldn’t get a hotel in the area… he stayed at the Booth residence, located adjacent to the pool property.)

Long after its heyday, the pavilion would fall victim to teenage arsonists in 1973, and would not be reconstructed.

But one could argue that, in a sense, the live music would go on.

J.D. Booth’s nephew, who worked at Dreamland until the family sold the business in 1949, would leave the area, as many did, and go on to become a successful businessman and politician. He was so revered by the constituency of his “adopted” town, that five years after he retired as mayor the town saw fit to name their new local music pavilion after him…

The Koka Booth Amphitheater.

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