Huron Street Bath to be Turned into Condos

Huron Street Bathhouse
From Public Baths to Private Homes. Photo by Lucie Levine

Last week, we took a deep dive into the Historic Preservation Commission’s interactive landmarks map to check out the historic landmarks scattered around Greenpoint. Unfortunately, not all of the storied buildings in our neighborhood are under protection from the city, which means they can be fodder for developers.

One such spot is the Huron Street Bathhouse (139 Huron Street), which is on its way to becoming a condo. The Bathhouse, Built 1903, opening 1904 and closed 1960, was a treasure of the City Beautiful Movement. That movement postulated that inspiringly beautiful public architecture and municipal amenities could uplift the poor, and inspire people of all means to be model citizens.

At the time, cleanliness was associated with good citizenship, yet, indoor plumbing and hot water were considered luxuries. In a city of cold-water flats and crowded tenements that often lacked bathrooms, residents had few options for bathing or hygiene. Accordingly, public bathhouses were a prudent response  to a very real public health crisis. 

And so: Clean, Beautiful Brooklyn. The bathhouse initiative was a city-wide undertaking. Twenty-Five baths were built around the city; 7 of them in Brooklyn. All were built in the Classical Revival Style, based on the Baths of Ancient Rome.

With two tubs and 87 shower stalls (25 for women, 62 for men) the Huron Street Bathhouse served over 1,000 people a day at its peak. After World War II, public baths fell into obsolescence. By 1955, they were no longer required by law, and by 1956, the Huron Street Bathhouse was the last operating in Brooklyn.

The Bathhouse closed in 1960, and more recently has been home to a framing company. Now it will start a new life as a condo.

About Lucie Levine

Lucie Levine is the founder of Archive on Parade, a local tour and event company that aims to take New York’s fascinating history out of the archives and into the streets. She’s a Native New Yorker, licensed New York City tour guide, and freelance writer with a passion for the city’s social, political and cultural history.

2 Comments

  1. Geoff Cobb says:

    Lucie not clear will the facade remain or not?

    Reply
    • Hi Geoff, It’s not entirely clear. When I spoke to the developer/workers there, they said that some of the details would remain, but other would be scrapped. Since it’s not landmarked, there’s no stipulation about how it will be converted.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *