Jersey Shore Bathhouses Hearken Back to a Different Era and a Different Tourist

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A day at the Jersey Shore on the beach.
Image via visitnj.org.

These days, most Delaware County visitors to the Jersey Shore go back to their rentals, their condominium or their hotels to shower after a day on the beach.

But there was a time when bathhouses dotted the beach landscape by the hundreds, providing essential sand removal before traveling home, writes Jason Nark for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Now only a handful remain.

George Amundsen II, 64, and his son, George III, own one of them, Wildwood Daytrippers in North Wildwood, N.J.

“I mean, everyone deserves a shower, right?” Amundsen said.

 Most of Amundsen’s business comes from the parking space he can offer off the boardwalk, but back in the day, bathhouses like his outnumbered parking lots.

 “We charge five bucks for a shower,” said Amundsen II. “It was $6 for a while, but I figured, what the heck.”

His grandparents opened the bathhouse in 1962, when it was still commonplace to serve day-trippers or “shoobies.”

Bathhouses fell on hard times as far back as 1990, when owners faced rising insurance premiums, high water bills and fewer day-trippers.

 “People have more money and they can stay overnight,” one owner of a now-shuttered bathhouse told The Inquirer in a 1990 article.

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer about the disappearance of bath houses at the Jersey Shore.

Learn about the history of Wildwood in this YouTube video.

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