John Patterson Branch (1830-1915), banker, philanthropist and community leader, erected Richmond's first public bath here in 1909 at 1801 East Broad Street as a gift to the city. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York began operating municipally managed public baths that were open throughout the year to promote good public health. In 1913, Branch Public Bath No. 2 at 709 West Main Street was opened. At the peak in the early 1920s, more than 80,000 customers used the two facilities each year. The development of domestic indoor plumbing led to the closing of the two public baths in 1950.