Mackerel Cove, Jamestown’s Town Beach, was popular as early as 1890 when L. W. Barringer of Philadelphia proposed to the Town Council the building of a pavilion and bath houses on the site. That project did not come to fruition but in 1925 a Special Town Meeting approved the sale of bonds to improve the beach. Ralph G.P. Hull was awarded the building contract and on June 15, 1928, the Mackerel Cove Beach Pavilion opened with 100 bathhouses and a two-story pavilion. The original structure was built on the north side of the causeway (at Sheffield Pond) then, for convenience and safety, was moved across the causeway in time for the beach season of 1929. The Beach Pavilion was a popular attraction for native Jamestowners and summer residents until it was destroyed in the Great Hurricane of 1938.
This bathing suit is a black wool one-piece suit, circa 1920, with the label “Annette Kellermann Bathing Suit”. It was discovered in the attic at of Park Dock, a home in the north end of Jamestown and donated to the Historical Society. Annette Kellermann, an Australian, was one of the first women to wear a one-piece bathing costume, as opposed to pantaloons with a dress. Her swimming costumes became so popular that she started her own fashion line of one-piece bathing suits. Kellermann helped popularize the sport of synchronized swimming and authored a swimming manual. In 1907, at the height of her popularity, Kellermann was arrested on Revere Beach, Massachusetts for indecency – she was wearing one of her fitted one-piece costumes.