South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Oliver Bath House closed to repair damage


Citipark’s Oliver Bath House in South Side has been temporarily closed to repair plaster damage above the pool that could fall and pose a risk to public safety.

A crack in the plaster, directly above the pool, was detected last week. At the recommendation of city architects and engineers, the facility will be closed until further notice.

During the closure, the City of Pittsburgh will conduct a comprehensive inspection of the structure including the mechanical systems, structural evaluation, accessibility and an air quality review.

The Oliver Bath House was built in 1910, and donated to the city of Pittsburgh in 1915 when steel and iron ore magnate, Henry W. Oliver, gave the city $100,000 to construct a South Side Public Bath House. He also gave $100,000 as an endowment to cover maintenance and employee salaries providing the residents of South Side with a vital public amenity.

The Oliver Bath House was originally sketched out by Daniel Burnham, architect for the World’s Columbian Exposition (also known as the famous Chicago World’s Fair of 1893) and designed by the local firm of McClure and Spahr in a Tudoresque style. It was the last public bathhouse 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 bathhouses was eliminated. The Oliver Bath House is now the oldest public swimming pool in the City of Pittsburgh.


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