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Peek inside the Schvitz, undergoing renovations in the North End

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Exterior of a two-story, rectangular, gray-brick building. The second-story windows have all been covered. A red van and white van are parked outside the entrance. Photos by Michelle & Chris Gerard

The only historic bathhouse in Detroit, possibly in Michigan, has a long, storied past. Located on Oakland Avenue in the North End, the former Oakland Health Club, long known as the Schvitz, has served as a place of cleansing and restoration for Russian Jews, a gathering spot for the notorious Purple Gang, and a more recently, a host to swingers nights. But now under new ownership and a renovation process, it hopes to go back to its restorative roots.

Curbed stopped by to visit before a neighborhood open house on October 1.

New owner Paddy Lynch (whose Arden Park home was featured here in 2012) tells us that renovation efforts are coming along, and they’ll continue working on it as they start to reopen with more services. The building has been open in some form for nearly 90 years, but much of it needs work. They’re working on the front reception area, which has incredible stained glass; adding fixtures and artwork to the dining room; and turning the mikveh into a ladies lounge area.

The dining area, which was up and running during the open house the following day.
The mikveh, a ceremonial Jewish bath, which will have a separate entrance and serve as a womens’ lounge.

The Schvitz has three floors. The basement holds a large pool with neighboring steam room, plus laundry and a changing room. The main level has the front reception, lockers, the dining room, and the mikveh. The large, open second floor has been host to large watch parties for sporting events in recent months. Outside, there’s an oasis-like patio for guests.

The large, open second floor.

Lynch hopes to return the Schvitz to its old world roots of relaxation, detoxification, and renewal, welcoming to everyone. They’re continuing to work on their website, which should have more information (hours, events) in the coming weeks. North End residents will also receive membership discounts. Here’s a look around this historic building, deep into the renovation process.