The Baths at Lake Calhoun

How Minneapolis has dealt with the question public baths may be seen from the report of the president of the board of park commissioners for 1912…

He quotes from an address of ex-president Folwell of University Minnesota, delivered in 1896.

Unless civilization takes the back track, modern cities in the next generation will provide at public expense for building in establishments rivaling the baths of old Rome, not only in summer but in all seasons, but perhaps it’s a luxury is not within the powers of the park commission…then remarks, It seems civilization has taken the backtrack, but has gone forward more rapidly than the writer imagined for in less than half a generation we find, in this city, the prediction realized.


The reference was to the Calhoun bathhouse a Lake Calhoun. Completed in 1912 at a cost of $81,000, the entire building is of monolithic, concrete construction. and is very pleasing and imposing an appearance It’s accommodations are as follows: The Men’s Department has 18 dressing rooms and 706 lockers. The Women’s Department 37 dressing rooms and 210 lockers. The Boys Department has 36 dressing rooms and 232 lockers. A separate Children’s department has 1 dressing room and 84 lockers.


The entire facility has a total of 191 dressing rooms 1252 lockers. the first three have shower baths and inside toilet accommodations. There are also toilet rooms for both sexes accessible from the outside. Well arranged suit rooms are provided for each of the three departments from where the suits and towels are obtained by the bathers as they enter the courts, which with exception of the children’s department are open overhead. A cashiers office, a reception room, a refreshment counter and well equipped emergency hospital room are provided.The basement contains a heating plant and the a pump and compression tank delivering drinking water from a deep artesian well to seven drinking fountains distributed through the building and the terraces.

Calhoun2The fine beach on the lake in front of the bathhouse was created by pumping sand on from the bottom of the lake. The total attendance at Calhoun baths during the three months of June, July and August, 1912 was 116,085. The highest recorded attendance and one day being 4387 on August 25.

At Glenwood Lake in the northwest part of the city at Nokomis and at Camden Park near the northern boundary, other public baths are maintained by the city the attendance at which for the months of June July and August and September 1912 was as follows: Glenwood 28,000, Nokomis 14,182, Camden 34,000, for a total of 77,000.