- Amy Mendillo for East Side Monthly
Fox Point Neighbors Clean up Bathhouse, Celebrating Historic Gem
In late April, Fox Point neighbors pruned, weeded, raked, hauled, and otherwise beautified the exterior of the former Fox Point Bathhouse (now the library at Vartan Gregorian School) as part of the annual FPNA Earth Day Cleanup.
Why the Fox Point bathhouse? The building is dear to neighbors, with longstanding connections to Fox Point and in recent decades, to FPNA and the Vartan Gregorian School. According to long-time residents and the Providence Preservation Society, the bathhouse was built in 1926 as a stand-alone bathing facility for neighbors who didn’t have access to running water. After the building fell into disrepair and near-abandonment in the later part of the century, garnering a spot on the PPS Most Endangered Properties List from 1998-2003, the community pushed to have it resurrected, ultimately converting it into a school library/community room with a $500,000 grant from the City. According to an FPNA board member, a few Fox Point neighbors remember using the bathhouse as children. Today, the school is the primary occupant of the building, but FPNA meets there monthly and has been responsible for its landscaping in recent decades.
Whether the space is used for showering, teaching children to read, or holding public meetings, FPNA takes pride in the bathhouse as one of the most handsome, storied, and perhaps under-recognized public structures in Fox Point.