Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pictures from Tacoma’s Most Notorious Bathhouse

I recently had the opportunity to explore the old Turkish bathhouse that will soon function as a rain cistern, collecting water for Pacific Plaza’s green roof and to flush the building's toilets. The bath's size is 25 feet wide, 100 feet long and 9 feet deep - combined with a smaller concrete pool room below it, will hold roughly 190,000 gallons of water.

The bathhouse was originally built more than 110 years ago, and likely catered to loggers from Turkey, Russia and Sweden looking for an opportunity to “literally soak the dirt out of every pore.”
Later, the Turkish bathhouse developed a more checkered history. According to Michael Sullivan, local historian and principal of Artifacts Consulting, the bathhouse was owned during different generations by two of Tacoma's most notorious vice kingpins - Peter Sandberg and Vito Cuttone. Sandberg ran Tacoma's prostitution business at the turn of the century and Vito Cuttone, ran the Italian mob in Tacoma after the Second World War.

Dan Voelpel wrote a great article in the News Tribune about the Turkish bath back in December 2008. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on the TNT’s site, so you’ll have to read it from the Seattle Times.)

Here’s what the bathhouse looks like today:

Steam pipe

1 comment:

  1. I found out that my mother's great grandfather Gottlieb Jaeger ( Real estate agent and Barber) from Austria and Germany...was the "President" of this bath house....I do know that he had the first Ice cream store and the first Phone installed ( In his home) in Tacoma. He built his home in 1909 Donice N. Smith