(click to enlarge)
An interesting set of photos, especially the bottom one with people hanging from ropes, at the old Santa Luzia beach (located between today’s Santos Dumont airport and Praça XV). In 1905, the Passos reform mandated a ‘garage’ for row boats to be built there, taking away a little of its shine. In 1922, with the destruction of the Castelo hill, the beach was again altered but one could still swim there. By the 30s, work began on Santos Dumont and the beach was no more.
The reason people are hanging from ropes, I believe, is due to it possibly not being shallow enough and because there was apparently a wall between them and land, as can be seen just above, in an image from the Cidade Esportiva blog. The beach, as can be seen, was next to the chruch of the same name. Here’s an additional photo from a little further down the coast, also from 1910. And, of course, prior to the 1900s, it looked a lot better.