Oliver Bath House (1915-present)

Oliver Bath House - 2017.

The Oliver Bath House is located at 38 South Tenth Street on the South Side. Now 106 years old, the facility was a gift of industrialist Henry W. Oliver to the people of city of Pittsburgh.

Initially conceived around the turn of the century, Oliver wanted to provide factory workers with a place where they could bath and swim after completing their shifts. At the time, indoor plumbing was a rarity in middle-class neighborhoods.

Oliver originally hired renowned Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, whose work included Union Station in Washington DC, to design the building. However, upon Oliver's death in 1904, the plans were shelved and eventually lost.

Oliver Bath House.

A decade later, Henry's widow Edith, and the Oliver family, resurrected the idea. They provided the land, and $80,000 to cover the construction, provided that, as Henry Oliver had stated, "... the bath shall be free for the use of the people forever."

Construction of the bath house, designed by local architect MacLure and Spahr, began in 1914.

The South Side Baths opened on June 17, 1915. The two-story building features a 40' x 80' heated pool that still has the original century-old tiles lining the bottom. The second floor is a wrap-around balcony with lockers and showers.

Oliver Bath House Dedication - June 18, 1915.
Crowd gathered along Bingham Street during the dedication ceremony for the Oliver Bath House on June 17, 1915.

One of the only remaining public bath houses operating in Pennsylvania, and one only a few left in the country, the Oliver Bath House was designated a historic landmark in 2017.

The building, which is administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation, has been closed to the public due to COVID. A $2.8 million renovation is slated to begin in the spring of 2022.

Click on images for larger photos.

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Pittsburgh Gazette Times - June 18, 1915.

Oliver Bath House - January 12, 1938.    Oliver Bath House - May 1, 1961.
The Oliver Bath House, along South 10th Street, on January 12, 1938 (left) and May 1, 1961.

Oliver Bath House - 1915.    Oliver Bath House.
The second floor wrap-around balcony in 1915, and over a century later, in 2017.

Oliver Bath House - January 12, 1938.    Oliver Bath House - 2017.
The interior of the Oliver Bath House on January 12, 1938 (left) and more recently.

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