"We wanted a build a better Bath House...that's how it all started," says E. Nash Mathews, one of four Charter Members. "During the early twenties nearly everyone who lived on Miami Beach met at the old Roman Pools for a swim and luncheon and to enjoy the water sports put on by the management of the Roney Plaza Hotel. By 11:00 A.M. the place was crowded. It was on one of those crowded days that a number of close friends who frequented the Pools conceived the idea of building a new place farther north."
On April 7, 1926, the state of Florida granted a charter to The Bath Club. The roster at the time, consisting of wealthy scions of the industry (a Who's Who of America) totaled 10 Founder Members, 12 Associate Members, 24 Season Members, and 24 Two-Week card holders. President Herbert C. Hoover was given an honorary lifetime membership in January 1929. Although daily activities were centered around luncheon, swimming and tennis, Sunday luncheons became a festive occasion. The elite of Miami Beach gathered at the club for a leisurely afternoon of food and dancing. An orchestra played daily, except Mondays, beginning in 1933.
During World War II, the facilities were made available to officers of the armed forces and their families for a modest fee. "Duration"memberships were offered to the residents of Miami and Miami Beach and to a limited number of Surf Club members whose club was closed. The club operated on a year-round basis for the first time. Hundreds of military members took advantage of this fine facility during this period and many later became regular members. The club enjoyed the most prosperous times in its history.
In 1963, a new dining room was added to provide adequate facilities during inclement weather and to accommodate large private functions. Architect John L. Volk of Palm Beach was engaged to draw plans and a new room opened in December with a dinner-dance for just under 400 guests. This addition was an immediate success. Many glamorous social functions, including debutante parties and the popular flower shows, were held in the new facility. During the 1960s the club continued to prosper. Club facilities were improved in phased programs that showcased the original magnificence yet provided for the needs and reality of the new decade.
The Bath Club is dedicated to upholding its proud heritage and maintaining its fine tradition. Today, The Bath Club is once again poised to take its place as Miami's premier private club, where members have exclusive access to this one-of-a-kind oasis. A legend is reborn and a timelessly elegant way of life is introduced to a new generation.