Spokane Public Bath House

The Spokane Public Bath House was part of the Spokane Parks' master plan, a result of the vision of the Olmstead brothers of the famous family of landscape architects responsible for New York's Central Park. The Olmstead's advocated for parks with the Progressive Era ideals of the time, that parks are the best means of drawing people outside and so "aid to the improvement and preservation of health of the people."


The Public Bath House was built in 1914 but had been proposed by the City of Spokane Park Board in 1912 for this working-class neighborhood. The land had been platted in 1887 and named for Sylvester Heath, one of Spokane's "founding father." Many of the homes in this working-class neighborhood were constructed between 1901 and 1903, during one of the strongest residential building booms in the area. Spokane Public Bath House contained showers and changing rooms. Two swimming pools, one for males and one for females, were located outside to the west and north of the building. In order to swim, people would have to shower first. In this way, the first public swimming pools encouraged personal hygiene in addition to exercise and recreation provided by the swimming pools and aligned to the ideas of the Progressive Era.


The Bath House is located on a triangular-shaped piece of land called the Sinto Triangle Park in 1914. The architecture is in the Italian Renaissance style - rectangular, symmetrical, arched windows, and a center entrance accentuated with classical columns. Harold Whitehouse designed the building. Whitehouse and his partner Earnest Price had a prominent architectural firm for 60 years in Spokane designing hundreds of homes, commercial buildings, schools, and churches.


The Spokane Public Bath House and swimming pools were in use until 1958 when Witter Pool, to the north on Mission Avenue was built. The Bath house was placed on the Spokane Historic Register in November 2011.

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