SunBath: The Story of the Miamisburg Solar Pond

Event Details


During the energy crisis of the 1970’s, Congress and the Department of Energy pushed universities, national labs, and corporations to experiment with alternative energy technologies. Amongst the most unique of these is an almost forgotten experiment with solar energy conducted by the Mound Research Lab in Miamisburg, OH. The lab, in partnership with the city of Miamisburg, constructed a nearly half-acre salt gradient pond with the intention of using it to heat the local municipal pool, recreation center, and bathhouse. The largest of its kind at the time of its construction, the salt gradient pond would passively collect and store solar energy as head trapped within the super saline pond’s artificial stratigraphy. It was, in essence, a pool to heat a pool and perhaps the first example of a project that coupled small-scale energy production with public recreation. This talk will examine the history of the Miamisburg pond while positioning the project within the current discourse around renewable energy systems, and speculation on the future of public infrastructure.


Jake Boswell is an associate professor and the chair of undergraduate studies in landscape architecture at The Ohio State University. His work centers on the entanglement of cultural, technological, and natural systems in the production of designed and vernacular landscapes, with particular focus on technological imaginaries and attempts to alter climate. He comes to this interest through an education and training in landscape architecture, city planning, and cultural technology. Jake’s academic practice centers on writing, historical inquiry, and design speculation. He is the recipient of the prestigious Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, The Robert S. Livesey Teaching Award, and The Ohio State University, College of Engineering Lumley Award for interdisciplinary research. In 2018 he was named an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oak’s Research Library and Collection.

For additional details call 937-353-4457. The presentation is free and open to the public and has ample free parking.

Mound Cold War Discovery Center
Phone: 937-247-0402