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November 24, 1909


Something To Be Thankful For.
New Holmes Square Bath House.

The spacious and sightly Holmes Square bath house will be opened formally to the use of the poorer classes in the park limits tomorrow. Fourteen thousand dollars has been spent on the structure and furnishings.

The building is in the northwest corner of the park, its frontage being south. It is of solid brick construction, the exterior being veneered with buff colored Bedford stone. There are separate entrances for males and females. The bathing facilities are of the shower type, and are supplied with hot and cold water.

The proportions of the building are 65 feet in length and 29 in width. On the west side is the bath room for women and girls. It is 24x23 feet, and has five individual showers and one general shower. There are lockers for clothing, toilet and other accessories.

A broad lobby, in which are the reception rooms and offices, divides the men and women bathing rooms. The room for the men is in the east end of the building. It is 24x31 feet and has eight individual showers and one general shower.

The second floor is given over to a gymnasium, play rooms for the children, reading rooms and rooms for the directors.


June 7, 1909



Suggestion Comes After Visit to
Topeka, Where Turkish Bath Es-
tablishments Have Monopoly
in Alcohol Business.

"During my recent visit to Topeka," said Frank Jones, formerly of Caldwell, Sumner county, Kas., "I believe I discovered a serious flaw in the prohibition law. While the lid, to all intents and purposes, is squeezed on thoroughly tight, I was informed that the leading Turkish bath establishments at the capital are still advertising alcohol rubs.

"Now alcohol is alcohol and whether you drink it or have it put into you by rubbing it through the pores seems to me to be a distinction without a material difference.

"Of course, I never heard of an alcohol rub making anyone intoxicated. Still the flaw in the prohibition law is there and why cannot the Turkish bath men take advantage of the law and elaborate on their programme?

"The unlimited advertising that Topeka would receive, were the plans which I have in mind, put into execution, almost takes me to the first train for that town with a view to buying up all the real estate on Kansas avenue. The plan? I knew you would be getting your oar in when I began to talk real estate.


"The scheme is simple enough. If alcohol rubs are allowed, mark you, rubs, why limit the rubbing to alcohol? By that same rule could the Turkish bath man not rub a man with German cologne, Holland gin or corn whisky? You would be rubbing it in, wouldn't you? Of course you would.

"I hatched this beautiful plan while we were leaving Topeka, bound for Kansas City. The conductor told me that the train was running at the rate of 65 miles an hour and I told him that if the engineer was as dry as I was he'd be running 100 miles an hour. At the present stage of the game one can not leave Topeka too rapidly.

"If the suggestion is adopted the Turkish bath managers will immediately rearrange their establishments and inaugurate an entirely new procedure. There will be the bath, naturally. We have to have the bath. That misnomer will have to stick. Very few men who buy a Turkish bath anywhere need a bath. They need a rest.

"After the bath the big show begins. The attendant simply asks his customer what sort of a rub he wants. By that he will mean rye or bourbon.


"Following the rye or bourbon rub the victim, I should say the bathee, will be led to the champagne shower bath and from there to the beer plunge. Then from the beer plunge the happy man is taken to the cooling room de luxe, in other words, the cold storage.

"Under these new regulations the Turkish bath house will be an institution of many parts. The prescription that I have just written is intended for men of means. There is nothing in the law which says what shall be in the tub. Therefore, the patron of the modern Topeka Turkish bath can purchase a plain ticket, entitling him to one Old Crow tub bath. If he wants to go a little stronger he can order an extra in the form of a gin fizz spray.

The piece de resistance of the entire joy rule is the beer plunge. Therein would lie competition in the Topeka Turkish baths. It would be a seductive bait for the breweries. The agents will simply be falling over themselves in an effort to get the respective establishments to use their beer in the plunge.


"Furthermore, the bath men will become active. In my mind's eye I see Kansas avenue lined with Turkish bath establishments and such alluring electric signs as:

" 'This house changes the beer in its plunge daily.'

" 'An innovation for Topeka: The only Turkish bath plunge in the world using daily in its immense plunge imported beer.'

" 'The beer in our plunge changed daily and guaranteed under the pure food and drug law, etc.'

"What do you think? Isn't she a whopper?"

"I was thinking this," was the reply. "I used to live in Topeka. Do you know what would happen if this Utopian Turkish bath scheme of yours should be put into effect?"

"Haven't the remotest idea," said Mr. Jones. "Appears to be a grand scheme."

"Well, the Topeka city council would hold an extraordinary session and pass an ordinance requiring every man in the town to wear a muzzle."

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May 24, 1909


Personal Ablutions Almost Prohibi-
tive Luxury in McClure Flats.

They're bathing less in the McClure flats. Private bathtubs have always been an unknown luxury there. Personal ablutions formerly were performed by most of the residents at the bathhouse provided by the United Jewish Charities at 1820 Locust street. There a child could get a bath, including the use of a towel, for the sum of one penny. An adult might bathe for a nickel.

More aristocratic people went to a private bathhouse at 310 East Nineteenth street, where children paid a nickel and grown ups 15 cents. Each of the bathhouses had five tubs, but only the penny shop was ever crowded, for there are few in the neighborhood that can afford to pay a nickel to have their children washed.

Since the opening of the beautiful new Jewish charities building on Admiral boulevard, the bathhouse on Locust street has passed into private ownership. Free baths are furnished at the new charities building, but it is very far from McClure flats.

With the passing of communal ownership of the bathhouse passed the penny baths, and now the price is a nickel for every child, and 15 cents for adults.

Therefore is McClure flats abstaining from baths, and is likely to partake of them sparingly until the completion of the free public bathhouse in Holmes square.

Yesterday afternoon a member of the park board stated that it would be August 1 at t he earliest before the bathhouse at Holmes square is completed. Work has been delayed from unavoidable reasons.

"A few of the children more strongly imbued with the gospel of cleanliness than others make an occasional pilgrimage to the bathhouse on the Paseo when it is warm," said Mrs. J. T. Chafin, wife of the head resident at the Franklin institute. "But for most of them the walk is too long, and many who need the bath most are too young to march such a distance."

In the McClure flats district there are not half a dozen private bathtubs. An investigating committee last summer estimated that there were approximately 10,000 people in the city who had not the use of a bathtub.

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May 26, 1908


Costly Blunder May Yet Be Turned
to Some Account.

It is the intention of the board of parks commissioners to install a pumping engine in the Paseo bath house, and pump the water into the fountain at Paseo and Fifteenth streets. The excess water will be returned to the bath house, purified and aerated. At yesterday's meeing of the park board an extensively signed communication was received from the women residents of the vicinity of the fountain demanding that the water be turned into it. They said that in the present idle shape the "fountain, instead of being an ornament, is an eyesore."

The estimated cost of the pump is $1,500, and the board will decide at its next meeting if the scheme is practical.

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May 14, 1908


Park Board Could Use the $15,000
the Minstrels Have on Hand.

At a recent meeting of the park board a resolution was adopted recommending the following improvements:

Building a front and installing shower baths in the public bath house on the Paseo at a cost of $4,000; making and installation of shower baths in North End playground, $4,000; installation of shower baths and remodeling in Warner square, Thirteenth and Summit streets, $2,000; enlargement of building in Holmes square, $4,000; building bath house in the Grove, $8,000; bath house in northwest corner of Penn valley park, $8,000; purchase of ground and building bath house on Admiral boulevard, $15,000.

The resolution invited the Megaphone minstrels to turn over to the park board the $15,000 they have in their treasury to assist in carrying out the resolution, and also extended the same invitation to the Playgrounds Association to come forward with the funds it has on hand.

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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.

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March 28, 1907


Thinks He May Yet Solve Union
Depot Problem.

"Among the greater things that my administration of city affairs is rapidly solving is the Union depot and West trafficway problem," said Mayor Beardsley last night to a small audience at the meeting of the Technological Society in Central high school building. "The depot surroundings will be both beautiful and attractive, and the West trafficway will be settled satisfactory to the many interests involved."

The mayor then went down the list of public utilities and said that it was his aim and ambition to make them complete and effective and in keeping with every demand. He told about the city acquiring forty acres of lad in Platte county to establish a sanitarium for tuberculosis victims, the new emergency hospital in the city hall and the contemplated children's playgrounds and bath house in the North end.

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