November 10, 1907


Great Need of Such Accommodations in
the Crowded Districts of the North
End -- To Ask Council
to Do Something.

Kansas City's deficiency in public baths is likely to be remedied -- in part at least -- if the plans of Alderman W. T. Green are carried out. The town already has a free pool, open in summer. But what is proposed now is a set of tubs and showers to be open, perhaps at a nominal charge, the year through. Such bath houses are common in other cities, but they have been neglected here, except by charitable organizations.

Alderman Green is planning to introduce a resolution in the council to-morrow night instructing the board of public works to obtain proposals for a site for a bath house.

"If the park board has ground suitable for a site it may be better," Mr. Green said, "for the park board to arrange plans and look after the construction of the building, but unless it has I think the first move should be for the board of public works to find a site and employ an architect to make plans. I have arranged to meet P. S. Brown, Jr., of the board of public works tomorrow morning and together we will draft the resolution which I expect to introduce in the council. Mr. Brown is from my ward and I want to consult him. Until we have mapped out a more definite plan I can't give very satisfactory details, only my ideas of what ought to be done.

"My idea of a bathhouse would be to have hot and cold tub baths and shower baths with hot and cold water, separate sections for men and women of course, and attendants for each. Just how many tubs will be needed and how many shower baths is a matter to be worked out by the architect and the board. A public bathhouse is practically a necessity in the crowded districts with old buildings where the poorer people live. Some of these people would not have a chance once a year to take bath with all the conveniences that the people in the newer sections with modern homes regard as an every day necessity.

"There is nothing the city can do for the health and comfort of people in the crowded districts that will do more good than to put up an inviting bathhouse where they can have a bath almost for the asking. A nominal charge for soap and towels might be made.

"As for the location, of course, I would like to have it in the west end of the Eighth ward, but I am inclined to think a site in the Sixth ward would be more available -- somewhere north of Eighth street and east of Grand avenue. Property has become so valuable in the west end of the Eighth that the site for a bathhouse might cost too much. There are places only two or three blocks north of Eighth street where property is much cheaper and a larger number of people would be benefitted. For that reason I shall not put into the resolution any reference to the location."

The only bathhouse owned by the city now is the pool on the Parade just off the Paseo. In summer it accommodates thousands of persons every week, but in the winter the water is too cold. The large Eastern cities have adopted a practice of building bathhouses suited for winter as well as for summer, or separate places that are built especially for winter use.

The cost of a bathhouse need not be great if the site is not too expensive. A boiler can furnish heat for the building in the winter and keep the water warm for the bath. Mr. Green and Mr. Brown have taken hold of the matter together and expect to interest other friends to take hold of the proposition and help make it succeed.