June 3, 2009

More Bathrooms

Yesterday, I posted on some of the most beautiful public bathrooms, and today, I am going to show some less beautiful, but still public baths... Don't be scared!
The house where I lived before I moved to Wales was built in the late 1800's and it still had an outdoor bathroom until the early 1960's, if you can imagine that! Houses, especially the small workers rowhouses in Baltimore's older neighbourhoods didn't have indoor facilities, but had outhouses in the back. For baths, people used the public baths in the neighbourhoods.
There are still a few public bath buildings in Baltimore, including one right around the corner from me. Several of these public bath-houses were funded by Henry Walters, who also gave the funds for the world-reknowned Walters Art Museum, after a trip to Egypt. During this time, he became aware of the relationship between cleanliness and sanitation to public health.
These elegant little buildings were built on 46 x 70 foot lots and had both showers and baths as well as public laundry facilities. Several of these buildings still remain, but they have all been converted to other uses.

10 comments:

  1. Public baths, eh. When I was a kid in Portsmouth (UK) our public swimming baths were dual purpose. We would often queue up at the municipal-green painted ticket hatch behind an old geezer collecting a small bar of a soap and a thinning white towel. Then we could hear the ticket lady turning on the taps (faucets?) before serving us. Getting sentimental, sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rose... what a great story. I remember seeing baths in some of the small villages up in the valleys in Wales.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Funnily enough, all of the Carnegie Libraries in Pittsburgh in the small steel towns (every small neighborhood has a carnegie library in Carnegie's home town!), had bathhouses in the basement! Some of them still exist (not in use though) where they haven't been converted to reading rooms or storage.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What were the former bathhouses in Baltimore converted to?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kathleen... they've mostly been converted to office space. I've been in the one in the bottom picture and it's all chopped up into offices. I think that they're handsome buildings, don't you?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Neat...I've always wondered about the one near Fells Point! And, ArchitectDesign, I never knew that about the Carnegies! (From the Pgh area...)

    ReplyDelete
  7. How interesting - I love this post! Thank you, Christy

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is all so intersting to me, coming from Germany were public bath houses, old and new are still absolutely in use and in high demand. As a recreational source, not so much to get clean...pools and saunas are everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting to think how different life was only a couple of generations ago, and that showers and bathtubs were not a fixture in every household.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Paul/Kensington, MDJuly 14, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    In the mid 1960's I worked as a lineman for C&P Telephone,my work area being Baltimore. I can remember a bath house still in use on West Pratt St.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading and commenting on Pigtown*Design. I read each and every comment and try to reply if I have your e-mail address.