When the park opened, female bathers were scarce. As the decade wore on, they gradually shed their inhibitions and became regular visitors to the pool.
Around 1909, women began to frequent female-only swimming parties held in the mornings when the pool was least busy and there were few male patrons. For the most part though, women continued to avoid the pool when men were numerous.
Social strictures against physical activity for women and "mixed bathing" began to relax, particularly after World War I. Women who took men's place in the workforce during the war demanded access to the same recreations and pleasures.
The stigma of women's bathing costumes also eased. In 1907, Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman was arrested for indecency in Boston for wearing a swimsuit that bared her arms and legs. Over the next decade, women's swimsuits would slowly evolve in the direction pioneered by Kellerman. Motion pictures, magazines, and advertising spread the new styles across the land.
By 1909, Kellerman was performing live at Keith's Theater in conservative, Midwestern Columbus in the same suit that got her arrested in Massachusetts.
By 1914, Kellerman's lightly attired nautical romp, Neptune's Daughter, was playing to packed houses at the prestigious Hartman Theater downtown and bare arms and legs were the norm at beaches and pools.
Left: A turn-of-the-century bathing beauty from an Atlantic City stereoview.