Inwood Bathing Beach: 1906

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I thought it might be fun to share a photo of an old swimming hole that used to be a source of great fun and entertainment near the turn of the last century.  The area, on the bank of the Hudson River at  Dyckman Street, was called the “Inwood Bathing Beach.”   This not so little oasis in days before air conditioning was one of several installations to dot the local waterways during the summer months.

Inwood Bathing Beach, NY Tribune, July 15, 1906
Inwood Bathing Beach, NY Tribune, July 15, 1906

According to the 1906 account from the New York Herald, “A novel resort far uptown on Manhattan Island is the Inwood Bathing Beach, at Dyckman (206th) street and the Hudson River. The clean sandy beach, the fine stretch of water and the bathing houses have combined to make this especially popular. It is only three minutes walk from the Broadway cars and there are accommodations for 1,500 persons at a time. A lifesaving crew is at hand for the protection of bathers, and swimming masters afford instruction to those who are not competent swimmers. Boats may be secured for rowing, and refreshments are served in the pavilion.”

For the curious: The building in the upper right of the photo is the original Jewish Memorial Hospital.

Tubby Hook today

5 COMMENTS

  1. There were native americans (mother and son) who lived in a small house on Spuyten Duyvel in the late 1930s. I had my tonsils removed in Jewish Memorial Hospital in 1934 or 1935. My son used to dig for bottles and still has a collection of several containers.
    The Strauss family had a home in the park. Until several years ago there was a hitching post at the former entrance to their house. It may still be there.
    My father would take us across the Hudson in his car on a ferry which landed at Alpine.

  2. I rode the Dyckman Street ferry across the river in the late 1940’s with my father. It was just a little boat at that time but my father told me it used to be a big ferry. Back in the early 70’s we went digging around the site of old institutions in IHP and found a lot of bottles, mostly medicine bottles. My friend might still have some. We also explored the ruins of the old trolly and bus garage up around 219th Street by the power plant. We collected a bunch of trolly – or maybe they were old bus – destination signs that went on the front of the vehicle and had a hand crank to change the destination. My friend kept them too, but he got rid of them years ago. They would probably be valuable antiques now. I explored a lot of other places, like the ruins of the power plant on Dyckman near the Hudson (fragments of technical books lying around), and the old boat docks that used to be along the path along the Hudson that went south of Dyckman along the river (I’d sometimes walk all the way downtown along that strangely deserted path in the 70’s or 80’s…there were still old boats, canoes, I recall some with Gaelic words on them, and the big boat house was still there. It hadn’t burned down yet. Lots of other explorations in and around NYC…I used to canoe out to the islands off New Rochelle, NY, and explore the big ghost town that was Fort Slocum on David’s Island…

  3. The structure in the NE corner of the photo, which was taken in 1906, didn’t become Jewish Memorial Hospital until the 1930s. Before that, it was known as the Inwood House of the Redeemer, which was originally opened by the Magdalene Society as a facility for the rehabilitation of wayward women. The beautiful chateau-like structure was razed to make way for the Henry Hudson Parkway, which is why the Jewish Memorial Hospital relocated to 196th St. and Broadway.

  4. The building in the upper right corner of the photo wasn’t acquired by the Jewish Memorial Hospital until 1920. At the time of the photo (1906), it still belonged to the Magdalene Benevolent Society, the original owner.

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