Shields School Installs Showers for Students - 1902

I've mentioned Housing Conditions in St. Louis - the report on the St. Louis tenement district published by The Civic League of St. Louis in 1908. This chart appears in the report.

Out of 13,223 individuals, 12,728, or 96%, did not have access to a bathtub.

The school district came up with a partial solution for the students in 1902.

The St Louis Republic 
02 Apr 1902, Page 2 


In Shields School a Bathroom Has Been Fitted Up for the Benefit of Pupils. 


Superintendent Soldan Claims That the Danger of Contagion Has Been Greatly Reduced by Enforced Bathing. 

F. Louis Soldan, Superintendent of Schools, believes that "cleanliness is next to Godliness," and in the Shields school, No. 1119 North Seventh street, baths have been established for the use of the pupils who will be required to bathe at regular intervals during the hot weather. 

In the basement of tho school a room about fifty feet long by thirty wide has been fitted up as a bathroom. Attached to the celling are a dozen sprinklers large enough for the use of fifteen or twenty children at once. 

During the hot weather every child in the school is expected to bathe at least once a week, and sometimes more often. Bathing costumes are kept ready for them in the basement. and girls and boys alike avail themselves of the privileges offered. 

As the school is situated in the tenement district, the average child in attendance does not have the benefit of a bathroom in his residence, and it is argued that the spread of disease is greatly checked by the bathing which the children ore forced to take.

Coming to their lessons from a hot and crowded tenement, a frolic under the sprinklers in the bathroom is one of the greatest joys of many a pupil. Their temperature is greatly reduced and disease germs are killed. 

Mr. Soldan, in discussing the subject, said: "I have found since the baths were introduced in the Shields School that disease has been greatly reduced As every child is compelled to appear in class clean, there is little chance of the spread of diseases of any kind. In the Shields School there are about 1,000 children from the tenement district, and about May 1 the bathroom will be opened again for their benefit. At present bathrooms are not needed in other schools, but as soon as they are found necessary will be added."


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