South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Save Oliver Bath House


November 21, 2017

I am strongly opposed to any sale of the Oliver Pool and Bath House to private interests.

This heavily used facility is one of the unique features of Pittsburgh. Along with many who use the pool on a regular basis, I contest the assertion by a developer, Massaro Construction Services, that the building is in the “dire” category.

Structurally, the building is sound and its simple working-class character should be preserved while updated. With the large former Mackintosh Hemphill complex long abandoned and truly in dire condition next door, such a site might well tempt the interest of a developer.

A much better idea would be to invite an institution like the Graduate Program of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture to develop a team project to propose ways to adapt this important historic structure with advanced green technology including active and passive solar heat and power.

That way this facility with deep roots in our industrial working-class past and more than a century of service to the families of South Side can serve as a physical example of a creative linkage between Pittsburgh’s past and future.

The Oliver “Bath House” was unique because it provided mill workers and their families with access to a pool. The Oliver Family built the pool and gave it to the city with an endowment – the equivalent of $2.4 million in today’s dollars – so that the pool might remain “free for the use of the people forever.”

Let’s use some creative imagination to preserve this important legacy of our industrial heritage and community live.

Dr. Charles McCollester

Mount Washington


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