PHOTOS: Sussex Quarry Has No Future for Swimmers

Don’t expect to start swimming in the Sussex quarry at Mammoth Springs anytime soon, even after the old Cannery site is finally developed.

Between the and endless rumors of at Mammoth Springs, its no wonder Patch has received numerous inquiries regarding the old Sussex quarry.

With the quarry open for swimming at to the northeast, it’s not hard for some residents to wonder if the Sussex quarry might soon be open for business. Even some initial plans of the site label the space as “Quarry Restoration.”

“I was walking on the Bugline last night and finally walked up to the chain link fence to peek at the old swimming hole,” wrote Sussex Patch blogger Katie Glafcke. “I have to say, it looked like the perfect place to take a dip and cool off! I’m wondering why it's locked up, and thinking revitalizing and maintaining a quarry for public swimming would be a less costly alternative to .”

However, while the idea of opening the quarry to swimmers sounds ideal, Village Administrator Jeremy Smith says it’s not in the cards. Because the entire Mammoth Springs property is now owned by private developer Arthur Sawall, insuring swimmers would be risky.

“From a personal liability standpoint, Mr. Sawall doesn’t want to take on that responsibility,” Smith said.  “It’s private property now, and because of the liability insurance, you have to look at it from a legal perspective.”

Smith said the quarry at Menomonee Park is different because it’s owned by Menomonee Falls, and government entities are protected from being sued in different ways than if a private developer owned it.

And part of that protection is due to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"You have to provide accessibility for everyone to the quarry’s beach, and there’s not much that’s ADA accessible about getting there.”

In the 1950s, the quarry had a large chunk of stone blown out by the and Al Halquist to make a wading area for swimmers, according to the Sussex Sun. The village then managed the summertime swimming hole.

However, the quarry was eventually shut down due to the ADA, the same law Waukesha County officials are citing as the reason the .

“The ADA was one of the reasons the quarry was shut down,” Smith explained. “Under that law, you have to provide accessibility for everyone to the quarry’s beach, and there’s not much that’s ADA accessible about getting there.”

And Mammoth Springs developer Arthur Sawall confirmed he plans to restore it, but turning it into a swimming hole isn't going to happen.

"My plan is to enhance the quarry meaning create a walking path around it and a decorative fence for safety reasons," Sawall said in an email. "As for swimming I think my insurance company would drop me and…," finished Sawall.

So while residents may have fond memories of swimming at the quarry, the future life of the site is to be a little Sussex wonder. 

“When we are able to get the development up and running, it’ll be beautiful for the public to be able to see the body of water,” Smith said. “But now, it’s a hidden gem.”

Editor's Note: This story was updated on June 2 with Arthur Sawall's comment.

Jill Lane June 29, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Where is Mammoth Springs? Nearest intersection?
Katie Mescher Glafcke June 29, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Thanks for checking into the quarry. Too bad it's privately owned and locked up indefinitely. Sussex lost a real gem.
Kathy Tomassetti June 29, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I really think a nice public pool with family membership that offers summertime swim lessons would be a great addition to Sussex on the corner...I grew up with a community pool and we rode our bikes there, stayed all day, took swim lessons and had a great time...not to mention the jobs that it would create.
Jodi June 29, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I went swimming here all the time as a kid. The entrance was off of Silver Spring by Petro Pantry. There was a sandy beach, life guards and a diving board. I think they even offered swimming lessons. It was great while is lasted...... I'm hoping the plans to build a YMCA in Sussex go through. It would be nice to have a pool in town that can be used year-round.
Lori June 29, 2012 at 12:33 PM
If Sussex would consider an indoor / outdoor pool, the revenue could come in year round if lessons or swim aerobics were also offered. It could be a nice addition for the school district too. Money was collected about 5 years ago or so for a public pool in Sussex...I would like to know what happened to that.
Mike B June 29, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Gotta love the ADA. Screw the many for the good of the few.
Jane June 29, 2012 at 01:19 PM
The quarry pond is a very pleasant site. I hope that the future development takes advantage of its beauty!
Brian June 29, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I wonder if there are fish in there? Might it be open for fishing at some point?
Mike B June 29, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Or they could just sell the quarry, and some limited land around it, back to the village and then turn it back into a swimming hole. Can just add a ramp or something to make it ADA compliant. I'd love to swim in Sussex instead of having to go to the Falls or somewhere else. :) Would be great to live in condos that had a swimming area literally on the same property.
Mike B June 29, 2012 at 01:36 PM
If there aren't, they can always be added. That'd be a pretty cool idea. Anyone know how deep it is?
Joseph June 29, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Pools are expensive to maintain though.
Debi June 29, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Jill, Mammoth Springs was one of the names the former canning company went by. It is the area by Waukesha Avenue, between Main Street and Silver Spring. The quarry is closer to Silver Spring, basically behind the homes/apartments on S.S., next to the BP.
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Yeah - The developer "changed" the name from Cannery Crossing to Mammoth Springs because he liked the way it sounded better.
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Agreed! I loved trudging through the woods to find a clearing to take these photos. When I found one, it was really breathtaking how cool this place is.
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Kathy - I know it's not the same as a pool, but did you read how Sussex is planning to install a splash-pad in Village Park? (story - http://patch.com/A-vyKz) They said they're trying to meet residents half-way.
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Ugh - sounds like heaven! Even if the Y was built, I would still be eager to see the quarry be developed into a swimming hole again. It's a pipe-dream, but I just thought it was so beautiful, especially now that it's completely surrounded with huge, lush trees.
Debi June 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Our former family home is part of this undeveloped site. Growing up we took swimming lessons in the quarry. There are areas that are very deep, several people did drown. The "shallow" area was roped off from the "deep end", but there were times when the quarry was closed and people would sneak in to swim. Letting the public fish at the quarry would also be a major liability exposure. It was common to see people fishing from the cliffs, often climbing down the cliffs to get closer to the water. Litigation has changed many aspects of our society, the personal responsibility aspect has been replaced by who can I sue............
C T June 29, 2012 at 02:57 PM
There used to be beautiful little sunfish...I learned to swim and got my Jr. Lifeguard license there, many, many years ago and have photos of a little me jumping off that diving platform...it seemed so high and scary back then!
C T June 29, 2012 at 03:09 PM
In the late 1960's and early 70's, most of the Sussex kids learned to swim in that quarry. We had little tags with a number on them and they were pinned to our swimsuits so the instructors could keep track of us. We had a "buddy" system when swimming so our partner kept an eye on us and vice versa...it was wonderful and I have great memories of those days! The water was cool and clear and you could see schools of colorful sunfish darting here and there...Opposite the beach area was very deep and none of us ventured past the ropes, as our parents told us there was a scary "Loch Ness type Monster" in the shadows...funny now but it worked to keep us in line! Diving off the platform was almost a reward and it seemed so high! I became a Junior Lifeguard because of that swimmin' hole and I was SO proud! After it closed, we headed out to the overpopulated Lannon Park quarry and it just wasn't the same. Arrowhead High School ended up being the place to continue water education but the charm just wasn't there. I would have loved for my boys to head to Sussex instead of the "concrete pond"...
Andy Ambrosius (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I'm loving all these stories from everyone's childhood! Haha!
Lori July 01, 2012 at 04:47 PM
@Joseph - Fees collected for using the facility would pay for maintenance of the pool.
David Egle August 22, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Loved the Quarry. We spent every summer day there when growing up. We used to jump off the cliff after hours and swin the long way to the 2 rafts they used have out in the deep section. We also used to fish there, bullheads and sunfish if I remember correctly. Also we got chased out of there by susex's finest when we would swin there when it wasnt open. Yes, also all took swimming lessons there.


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