Free New York: Bath and Gym
NY city had free public bath houses. See the picture on the left, today it is a studio. NY times has this article showing the genesis of these public baths going back to 1897.
On being (nearly) free, I saw a man riding the subway late night (after 2 AM). He would be seated as the train pulled into the station and people got off or on. Then as the train pulled away from the station, he would get up and do pullup and chinup exercises using the handle bars in the subway car (straps having disappeared long time ago). So, that is a $2 gym trip.