Morris Avenue Bath House

285 Morris Avenue, between So. Orange Avenue and 14th Avenue


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The Morris Avenue Bath House was opened in July, 1902. It was a two-story building of brick and stone, with a slate roof and was erected at a cost of $18,000, excluding the land. It was equipped with 12 spray baths, 59 dressing rooms, and a cement swimming pool, measuring 28 feet wide, 50 feet long, and from 4¼ to 5¼ feet deep.

The bath house was open to males four days a week, and to females two days. The usual bathing hours were from 9 to 12 in the forenoon, and from 2 to 5 in the afternoon. Workingmen and others unable to bathe during the day are admitted between 6:30 and 8:00 in the evening In extremely warm weather the baths are open to men and boys from 7 to 10 AM on Sundays. The employs two superintendents and a fireman. There is also a matron who has entire charge of the days reserved for women and girls. The water in the swimming pool is kept uniformly at about 80° F., while persons using the showers can regulate the temperature to suit themselves. The pool is emptied and thoroughly cleansed once each day. Bathers who bring suits and towels are admitted free, while those who do not are charged a fee of 5¢ for the use of these articles, or 10¢ if a dressing room be included. Instruction in swimming is provided by competent teachers. The superintendents and other attendants are instructed in the treatment of the apparently drowned, and also life lines are stretched around the pools for the assistance of bathers in distress.

From "City Plan Commission 1915":

The Morris Avenue Bath House had 25 showers with a average daily attendance of 180 men and 47 women.

From Gene Fiducia:

The Morris Avenue Bath House was built in 1901. In the picture above, to the left is the swimming pool building and at the right is the boiler room and showers.

The small towels and a small bar of soap cost three cents. Males swam nude and females were supplied a black one piece bathing suit. Of course the pool was open on specific days for men or women.

On Saturday mornings the pool was open to whites and afternoon to "coloreds", a segregated system at all the bath houses in Newark.

Homes in the early 1900s were not all equipped with bath tubs or central heating.