Pool of Siloam returns Dec. 10

The Pool of Siloam returns this season beginning at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 and lasting until Dec. 24 at Sager Creek behind the Siloam Springs Community Building.

Originally started in 1955, the Pool of Siloam depicts scenes from the life of Jesus Christ with music in the background along the banks of Sager Creek, according to Tim Estes, senior pastor of New Life Church and the coordinator of the Pool of Siloam.

"I enjoyed the Pool of Siloam as a little child," Estes said. "I remember in the early 70s being down here with my family and standing in the cold and leaving to the strains of the Hallelujah Chorus in the background."

History of the Pool of Siloam

The Pool of Siloam was started by the late R.S. (Swede) Knowlson and local businessman Jim Dodson, according to a pamphlet of the last Pool of Siloam in 1986.

A year after the Pool of Siloam began Knowlson and Burtice Woody along with the financial interests of the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce and private citizens built a life-sized nativity scene along the water's edge, the pamphlet states.

In 1057, Knowlson passed away, and the chamber and private citizens continued the Pool of Siloam with more scenes being added in 1957 and 1958, the pamphlet states. In 1959 a city-wide project was started to ensure that the project would be completed.

Despite having no formal art training, Woody built all of the scenes for the Pool of Siloam. It took Woody a year to build the scenes for the Pool of Siloam, the pamphlet states.

In 1979 the Pool of Siloam held its last annual performance, according to an article in the Herald Democrat on Thursday, Dec. 11, 1986. The Pool of Siloam returned briefly from 1984 until 1986 but no more performances were held following that year.

A lack of volunteers needed to put on the Pool of Siloam caused the Christmas event to be shut down in 1979 and 1986, the article states.

The return

Estes said this year the scenes will be designed by local artists like Hannah Hoffman and the soundtrack will be produced by Stoneridge Recording.

The most challenging parts for Estes have been securing the props for the show and securing the hill behind Sager Creek, Estes said.

Estes had secured permission from the owner of the land to use it for the Pool of Siloam but then the land was sold to someone in California, placing Estes back at square one, he said.

Fortunately, Estes was able to secure permission from the new owner to use the land which meant the project was able to move forward with the Pool of Siloam.

The plan is to have to performances nightly, Estes said. One will begin at 6 p.m. and the other will start at 7:15 p.m. Each performance will last 45 minutes, Estes said.

"Everyone's been super excited to hear about it coming back," Estes said. "And that is heartwarming to me."