Monday, November 26, 2007

Jamaica Pond Bath House

Once upon a time, there was swimming in Jamaica Pond. Gambols of nude boys and men! And a bathhouse that disappeared.

Boston Daily Globe July 30, 1873

The Courts.

Supreme Judicial Court.

The Jamaica Pond Bathing House - Petition For An Injunction Refused.

Before Judge Morton of the Supreme Court, sitting in chambers, yesterday a hearing was had on the petition of Eben D. Hall and others against Charles G. Mackintosh and others, selectmen of the town of West Roxbury. The petitioners, who are citizens of the town and dwellers near Jamaica Pond, ask for an injunction preventing the defendants from opening to the public a bath-house recently erected by the town on the shore of Jamaica pond, on the ground that the bathers violate modesty and decorum bu an exposure of their persons while in the act of bathing. Defendants reply that the bath-house has been erected for the express purpose of doing away with the cause of numerous complaints to the authorities of the gambols of nude boys and men upon the shores of the pond, and that every possible arrangement is made to prevent the exposure of the persons on the bathers.

A large number of witnesses were examined, most of them testifying that the value of the neighboring estates was in a measure diminished by the gathering of the crowds about the bath-house, but that in reference to the exposure of the persons of the bathers the fears of the petitioners were groundless on account of the precautions used by the authorities to prevent it.

Horace Gray, Jr., on behalf of the complainants, cited the ice-house case of West Roxbury vs Stoddard (7 Alien), the regatta case of Bosty*ick vs. the North Stafford railroad, the bowling-alley case of the Somerset Club, the urinalcase of Rudolph vs. St. George's vestry, and especially the pigeon-shooting case of Rex vs. Moore, where the nuisance consisted chiefly in the fact that an outside crowd of idlers would congregate in spite of the best efforts of the police. Mr Gray also dwelt upon the fact that a place of amusement where there was music by 18 performers, rockets, etc., had been declared a nuisance, although there was the most perfect order among the persons admitted; a crowd would inevitably gather outside and be unquiet.

Waldo Colburn, Esq., on behalf of the respondents, contended that the testimony disclosed the fact that somebody or another must be annoyed and that this concentration was the only way to control the evil. Judge Morton waived any formal argument for the respondents, remarking that it was not necessary to go into the merits of the case now. The only question was whether in case no injunction was granted, there would be irreparable injury. The injunction was accordingly refused.

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