When you’re on summer vacation there’s nothing more exciting than taking a dip in the family pool. It feels like an escape from the ordinary troubles of life that you can find without even packing a bag.

Since he was a little boy, Tennessee’s Mickey Thornton dreamed of having a pool of his own. However, unlike other childhood dreams, this was one that the industrious Mickey just couldn’t seem to shake!

Though it once seemed impossible, Mickey just wouldn’t let go. So, one year, he started digging a massive hole in his backyard—and two decades later, it turned into something that was so much better than anything he could have hoped for as a kid…

When he was just a little boy, Mickey Thornton dreamed of owning a swimming pool. He didn’t want any ordinary backyard pool, either. He wanted a pool that was so massive that it would seem like his very own lake.

Not to be deterred, Mickey held on to this dream even as he grew up. Married with a family of his own, Mickey moved to Covington, Tennessee, in 1992 and decided the time had finally come to build the pool of his dreams.

It took one whole year of planning, but by 1993, Mickey had finished organizing and he was ready to start building the pool of his dreams. His wife totally supported him, but with one caveat: she wanted it to be far away from the house for safety reasons. Still, neither of them could have imagined what it would one day become…

When Mickey started making the pool, it began as a simple, small, 20-foot ditch in his backyard. However, two whole decades after he began digging, Mickey’s tiny hole had become something quite… monstrous.

It took Mickey more than 320 yards of concrete to build this massive artificial lake. That was just the beginning of the supplies he need to get things done. All told, there was a reason that this project took him 20 years to complete…

At first, Mickey planned for the pool to be used exclusively by his family, but as word spread of his ambitious project, he found himself hosting many gatherings and parties. He even hosted the Japanese national baseball team! It was quickly becoming a community pool.

Between 1998 and 1999, the family changed out the pool’s rubber lining and added a waterfall to its array of attractions. Mickey and his family continued to update the pool in the years since, including filters to keep the water as clean as possible. Mickey also invested in 18 tons of steel and custom-made rock waterfalls.

While the pool used to be free to use, the family now asks for a small donation so that they keep this unique treasure in the best shape possible. It certainly seemed like a fair request, considering how popular it’s become, no?

Eventually, the pool became a central part of life in their small Tennessee town. In fact, it’s so popular that people don’t just use the pools for parties and recreation. More than 400 different people have been baptized at this pool!

This 500,000-galloon dream come true is definitely a unique treasure, not just for Mickey and his family, but for their community. To hear from Mickey himself—and to get a better look at his pool project—watch the video below!

What an amazing story! It has to be so cool for Mickey to have finally made his lifelong dream come true. How generous is it of him to share that dream with so many other people, too?

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