The 12th Street Gym Officially Closes on Wednesday

by Ernest Owens | January 31, 2018 10:56 am

Photo courtesy of 12th Street Gym; mural by Michelle Angela Ortiz

After more than 30 years in the Gayborhood, the landmark 12th Street Gym is closing down for good on Wednesday night. Once a popular sweat bath called Camac Baths, the location at 204 South 12 Street helped foster the city’s LGBTQ social life since the very beginning.

Owners announced the news just a week ago:

Several members past and present shared their disappointment at the gym’s abrupt departure. “Such sad news. The Gym is responsible for changing the lives of so many people, jump-starting so many journeys to happier, healthier living, and inspiring so much change,” wrote Eric, a follower on their Facebook page. “The building and its housed community events have served as a safe-haven for so many people, in and out of the LGBT community; I have no doubt that their presence and service will be missed.”

Speculation began to build over the gym’s future after reports that its building had been sold[1]. Several news outlets reported that the gym owners had been hit with lawsuits[2] and numerous fire code violations.

The change in the building’s management threatens the existence of a mural honoring the late LGBTQ civil rights leader Gloria Casarez that has graced the property since 2015. Fortunately, Mural Arts Philadelphia has confirmed that it will consider recreating[3] the mural elsewhere if the building is eventually demolished.

12th Street Gym did not respond to Philadelphia magazine’s requests for comment. For customer convenience, the gym has announced[4] that the balance of all pre-paid memberships will be honored at no additional cost by Philadelphia Sports Clubs at the following three locations: 1735 Market Street, 220-250 South 5th Street, and 2000 Hamilton Street.

  1. had been sold:
  2. hit with lawsuits:
  3. has confirmed that it will consider recreating:
  4. announced:

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