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Contested WatersA Social History of Swimming Pools in America$
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Jeff Wiltse

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831007

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888988_wiltse

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“A Good Investment in Health, Character, and Citizenship”: Municipal Swimming Pools in the Progressive Era

“A Good Investment in Health, Character, and Citizenship”: Municipal Swimming Pools in the Progressive Era

Chapter:
(p.47) Chapter 3 “A Good Investment in Health, Character, and Citizenship”: Municipal Swimming Pools in the Progressive Era
Source:
Contested Waters
Author(s):

Jeff Wiltse

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807888988_wiltse.7

This chapter examines the second redefinition of municipal swimming pools in the United States during the Progressive Era. More specifically, it shows how municipal pools were transformed into wholesome recreation centers that could ameliorate life in industrial slums, deter juvenile delinquency, alleviate urban social tensions, and “Americanize” immigrants. The chapter also describes how the redefinition of municipal pools exacerbated the social divisions that existed in northern cities, including Chicago and New York City, by perpetuating class and gender segregation. Finally, it looks at Fairgrounds Park Pool in St. Louis, Missouri as an example of how municipal swimming pools were reconceived and the social composition of swimmers reshuffled.

Keywords:   municipal swimming pools, United States, Progressive Era, recreation centers, social divisions, class, gender, Fairgrounds Park Pool, Missouri, swimmers

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