A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 31, 2007
Mixed Bathing (Mixed Swimming)

"Mixed bathing” was a term used in England for both sexes swimming together. In the 1890s, various groups wanted to outlaw “mixed bathing.” In the 1920s, there was a strong resistance to “mixed bathing” in many parts of Texas. The term is mostly of historical interest today, but “mixed bathing” is still in use in some places.

One source (directly below) claims that “mixed bathing” is used in East Texas, and “mixed swimming” is used in West Texas.


Google Books
Riding the Wind of God:
A Personal History of the Youth Revival Movement
by Bruce McIver
Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc.
2002
Pg. 200
..."What about mixed bathing?” ("mixed bathing” in East Texas; “mixed swimming” in West Texas!)...

7 September 1896, Minneapolis (MN) Journal, pg. 7:
Mixed bathing—that is, the propriety of men and women bathing together—and whether husband and wife would not do better to take their vacations apart, are two of the burning questions in England this summer.

4 September 1921, Dallas Morning News, part 1, pg. 1:
GRAND JURY WARNS AGAINST
MIXED BATHING PARTIES.
Ballinger, Texas, Sept. 3.—In its report here today the grand jury for the fall term of court condemned bathing parties and warned mothers against permitting their girls to go in bathing with boys. The grand jury said: “We believe that if it is not stopped, or if these bathing parties are not accompanied by the mothers of the girls, the grand jury will be called upon to investigate some scandal or crime that could otherwise be averted.” The grand jury returned seven indictments for misdemeanors and five for felonies.

17 May 1923, Dallas Morning News, part 1, pg. 3:
FLOYDADA, Texas, May 16.—Sunday baseball, Sunday swimming pools and mixed swimming parties every day in the week were almost unanimously condemned by resolutions adopted at a mass meeting in Floydada in the courthouse at noon Saturday by a crowd of business men and a number of women, estimated at about 150. 

Google Books
Home to Texas
by Stanley Walker
New York: Harper
1956
Pg. 110:
...mixed bathing, which used to be one of Brother mcgee’s pet hates. 

22 February 1976, Dallas Morning News, “Reliving those great old days in Texas” by Lee Milazzo, section G, pg. 12:
Besides the clear presentation of political matters, the author also describes the social life of the region, most of which revolved around that determinant, the Rio Grande. In fact, at one point, a decree had to be issued against mixed bathing, as this mingling caused “the gravest scandals and offenses to God.” Solution? Women in the morning, and men in the evening.

Google Groups: soc.religion.christian
Newsgroups: soc.religion.christian
From: (Louie Crew)
Date: 11 Dec 92 06:40:34 GMT
Local: Fri, Dec 11 1992 2:40 am
Subject: Re: Sexuality (was: Re: REFRESH)

For example, when I went to the world’s largest Baptist university back in the 1950s, people argued endlessly about such trivia as whether the bible allows “mixed-bathing” (I was not from Texas but from Alabama, where they phrase implied a bath tub!), ...

IIIM Magazine
IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 23, June 4 to June 10, 2001
One of the taboos of fundamentalists in the deep South is mixed bathing. My wife and I, being from California, make no issue over members of the opposite sex swimming in the same pool or at the same beach. But when we went to Texas, we heard that “mixed bathing” was not permitted in some circles. My wife blushed and said to me, “Honey, I m opposed to mixed bathing too. Tell me, why would two people of the opposite sex want to take a bath together? I think that is indecent.” When we found out that “mixed bathing” meant “mixed swimming,” we had a good laugh. It never occurred to us that someone might believe mixed swimming to be wrong. 

What we mean by “sin” and “sins”
To:
Subject: What we mean by “sin” and “sins”
From: Louie Crew
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2003 17:29:02 -0500 (EST)

“mixed bathing” (a Texas phrase that referred to swimming, not taking a bath)

Petaluma Valley Baptist Church
Unity in Diversity
Romans 14:1-23
November 7, 2004
Pastor Tom Marcum

Last Sunday I told you that I went through an extended period of culture shock when I moved to Texas to go seminary nearly 29 years ago.  In fact, my culture shock lasted the entire 13 years that I lived in Texas.

One of my first experiences with culture shock occurred during an interview that I had with a small, country church seeking someone to lead their music and youth ministries.  I sensed that the interview had gone very well, but just before it came to a close Elmo threw me a curve ball by asking, “Tom, what do you think about mixed bathing?”

“Mixed bathing.” I had literally no clue what he was talking about, but as I looked at the faces of the committee members I could clearly see that they thought it was a very bad thing, indeed.  So, in a burst of bad judgment, weak character and immaturity I cautiously replied, “Well, I’m against it.” And, with that, the committee members let out a collective sigh of relief and offered me the position.  And shortly thereafter I discovered that I had just taken a bold stand against boys and girls swimming together. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, August 31, 2007 • Permalink