Offenbach: The swimming pool history – a look into the past

There are topics that crop up regularly. This also applies to the FDP’s recent suggestion to install a bathing ship in Offenbach am Main in order to remedy the lack of swimming opportunities in the city.

  • Swimming in Offenbach: FDP wants to install a bathing ship on the Main
  • Look back: Offenbach once had the most modern swimming pool Germany
  • Offenbach VS Frankfurt: The dream of the first swimming pool

Offenbach – After all, since the municipal baths closed, there is only the Waldbad on the Rosenhöhe and the Schultheis pond, which is mostly closed due to problematic water quality.

There comes the idea of ​​a “floating Swimming pool“Safely located on the Main – and yet it appears with a view of the Offenbacher Bathing history like bitter irony, after all, there was once the most modern indoor swimming pool in Germany, and people were happy not to be dependent on makeshift baths in the Main.

Offenbach: The history of the Main swimming pools

But one thing at a time: In 1781, the skipper Johannes Groß opened the first bathing establishment for swimming in the river on a sandbar in the Main, at about the height of today’s Speyerstrasse. Others followed until 1850, such as the bathing establishments Neumeyer, Mohr or Oehler. Up until the 1950s there was at the Offenbacher Main page 16 bathing establishments. At Offenbacher The military bath on the Fechenheimer Ufer, opened in 1904, was also popular with men. From bathing ships in Offenbach In contrast to Frankfurt, however, nothing can be found in the sources of the city archive – with the large number of bathing establishments it would also have been difficult to find a suitable place on the banks of the Main.

Bathing in the Main has been taking place since 1781: Here is a picture of the bathing establishment Klein from 1880.

© City Archives

Frankfurt follows Offenbach on foot: First swimming pool in 1799

Although there were also river bathing establishments in Frankfurt (there were 17 on the Main and Nidda until the mid-1920s), swimming was only properly taken into account in 1799, when the doctor Johann Gottfried Kohl at Mainlust, at what is now Nice, opened a luxurious, 27-meter long bathing ship reminiscent of a Greco-Roman temple building.

In both the early and early years, swimming was still suspiciously observed by sections of the population, for example Goethe described bathing as “madness” – after all, the water in the cities was contaminated, and it had to be boiled to drink.

Offenbach: Poor hygiene in the swimming pool

Whether bathing ship or river bath, both can at best be called a provisional. In old reports there are always references to “muddy” river baths, or that hygiene was a problem. No wonder that there was a desire for an indoor pool. And there was only 33,000 inhabitants Offenbach ahead of the pack: in 1885 the “Verein Offenbacher Stadtbad ”and collected money for a corresponding building.

Citizens could join the association for 100 marks – and in fact the association quickly collected 75,000 marks and was able to acquire a plot of land on Herrnstrasse and Kirchgasse. The city and construction company each donated 20,000 marks and in September 1886 the building shell could be started according to plans by city architect Friedrich Raupp. In spring 1887 the work was finished.

Offenbach: Swimming pool was once the most modern facility

The bathroom was considered the most modern facility of its kind in the German Empire because it had running warm water. In addition to the 7.50 by 15 meter and two meter deep swimming pool, there were 16 individual warm baths, a hot air and a steam bath, as well as cleaning and shower rooms. The large swimming pool was adorned on one side with a painting of a river landscape, from which a fountain in the form of a tree emerged.

Just how proud the citizens of their bathroom was was shown by the opening of swimming pool Leader Ludwig Rinderspacher published booklet “Das Offenbacher Stadt-Bad ”, a copy of which is stored in the city archive. Only four years after the opening, the “Illustrated Bathing Leaf” praised this Offenbacher swimming pool. By the way, neighboring Frankfurt could not open its own indoor pool until 1896.

Swimming pool in Offenbach: former splendor has faded

Apart from the stone portal in Herrnstrasse, nothing reminds of the former splendor. While in Darmstadt the Art Nouveau bath built in 1909 is a listed building and is a much admired attraction Offenbach As is well known, his city pool was demolished in winter 1992. The building would not be classified as a historic monument, it was said at the time, despite numerous civil protests from the town hall.

Back to the present: there is a lack of bathing opportunities OffenbachIt is not surprising that suddenly outdated ideas such as bathing ships are cited. However, the city had already considered and rejected this proposal in previous years. And it should be remembered that in neighboring Frankfurt two investors have been peddling the suggestion to install a bathing ship at Schaumainkai for almost 20 years – and this idea is also regularly rejected by the local magistrate and the city council because of impracticability.

What remains is the dream of swimming.


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