Oliver Bath House
The Oliver Bath House is an indoor swimming pool owned and run by the Aquatic Division of the City of Pittsburgh. The Oliver Bath House was built at the base of the South Tenth Street Bridge on the corner of Bingham Street in 1910, and donated to the city of Pittsburgh in 1915 when Henry W. Oliver gave the city $100,000 to construct a South Side Public Bath House, decreeing that it be "free for the use of the people forever." He also gave $100,000 as an endowment to cover maintenance and employee salaries, leaving utilities as the city's only financial responsibility. This became so as in the early 1900s the phrase, "The Great Unwashed" was applied to the gritty mill workers and anyone in the social order who had not yet achieved social graces and indoor plumbing.
The Oliver Bath House was originally sketched out by Daniel Burnham and designed by the local firm of McClure and Spahr in a Tudoresque style. It was the last public bath house to be built in Pittsburgh, and also indicated a shift in emphasis for such public structures from bathing to swimming with a 40 by 80 foot swimming pool at its core.
In the late 1950s, a new housing code made bathing facilities mandatory in every dwelling and the need for public bath houses was eliminated. The Oliver Bath House is now the oldest public swimming pool in the City of Pittsburgh.
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