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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Jumping-Off Point: 1923

Jumping-Off Point: 1923

Washington, D.C., 1923. "Opening of bathing beach." A diving platform in the Potomac Tidal Basin. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

 

Deja vu

This could be a scene at any freshwater lake in America, 1950's summertime. The background looks much like the commercial changing rooms at Lake Ronkonkoma, NY. It was one of the few places on an ocean surrounded Long Island that you could find calm fresh water to swim in. We too had huge pump slicked slides and dive rafts, though not anywhere that tall!

Segregated?

Was this a segregated facility? Was there a separate beach or diving platform for African-Americans?

[There were two municipal bathing beaches at the Tidal Basin. The white one, on the southeastern side, opened in 1918 and was enlarged in 1921. The "colored bathing beach," on the west shore of the Tidal Basin, was dismantled in 1925 (which may have been the same year it was built; the news accounts are hard to follow, for me at least). Shortly after that, white bathing beach was eliminated. All amid much controversy. There were plans for a "colored bathing beach" on the Anacostia River, evidently so the white beach could be reopened, but that doesn't seem to have panned out. More info here. - Dave]

Synchronized Diving

Are the men at the top right leaping off separately, but at the same time? Or is one holding the other in front of him?

[They're side by side. - Dave]

Looks like a blast!

Too bad the lawyers made this kind of fun an impossibility in today's world.

Tidal waves

We were in D.C. last week and on Wednesday morning visited the Jefferson Memorial when the winds really kicked up, we were leaning against the airs, and the chop in the Tidal Basin was at least a couple of feet high.

Looking out at the waves made me recall the many Tidal Basin bathing beach photos posted here on Shorpy.

Busy Lifeguard

Considering the haphazard (and amateurish) diving that's going on, I suspect the LG in the boat is kept plenty busy. Note the man to the right near the bottom about to jump on top of the woman just below him.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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