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Thursday, September 17, 2009

"The Hottest Spot in Town"

Authentic Finnish Sauna (Union Steam Baths, Hot Tubs), Astoria, Oregon Back when the bricks were still brown and not painted an unnatural bright red, this establishment was billed as "The Hottest Spot in Town." I wouldn't doubt it! It sounds like a nice place to be on a drizzly Astoria, Oregon, rainy day. Unfortunately, it's closed, but I'm not sure when it ceased to function as the local family bath house. You can get a glimpse of one of the tubs inside as well as the historic diesel steam boiler on this site.

The sauna ("Union Steam Baths") is on Marine Drive right across the street from the Suomi Hall and down the block from the Old Finnish Meat Market (now a coffee house). In the upper left of the photo, you can see a bit of the curved ramp where vehicles lift off from their earthbound state and launch themselves onto the great bridge that spans the Columbia. (I'm being fanciful, but it almost feels like that.) In fact, you can see a bit of the bridge structure reflected in the window of the steam baths. I wonder if they will ever re-open. I hope so.

9 comments:

B SQUARED said...

Can't imagine what they would have to charge to pay the rent, utilities, salaries, insurance, and meet health department requirements.

Thom said...

Great photo. I remember going to the Hot Springs in my home town. It was a pool set up to run from a natural hot springs. It was wonderful :)

Jacob said...

It's appropriate that this steam bath is close to the Finnish Meat Market as the Finns were/are big on saunas.

So were the Swedes, as I recall some of my ancestors had outside saunas from which the would run steaming hot and jump in the snow.

I didn't say they were smart, I said they were Swedes!

:-))

Floral Friday said...

Being a germ-a-phobic. The idea of bathing public....whoa. lol Great story though. Can you imagine putting your order in for stew meat next door and one door down becoming the stew. I wonder how funny it would be to drop a bag of chopped veggies in a large pot of strangers. ha ha ha can you imagine the look on their faces.

Don and Krise said...

Another neat old building too. Is that glass block I see down at the far end?? And what about this Finnish sauna? Where's the starting sauna?? :-P

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful Shot !! Great..Unseen Rajasthan

Vogon Poet said...

Interesting post and really nice comments.
I'll never go in a sauna: according to the movies they are always scheming about killing people or actually killing people there. There or in Turkish baths, which are far worse!
I really hoped that the color of the brick was natural...

Eric Swedberg said...

That place used to have a red neon sign that exclaimed "The hottest spot in town", it was owned by Elmer Koski, who displayed his (1938?) Olympics medal in wrestling.

Patricia Mcraven said...

There are apartments up there now. I lived here about 8 or 9 years ago.

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