Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Most Interesting Places To Go in Pittsburgh: Let’s celebrate our outstanding restrooms.



OK. Let’s say you’re somewhere you’ve never been before, and nature calls, and you discreetly ask where the restroom is, and you open the door to find really unusual or old or classy facilities. Who doesn’t love to be surprised by vintage plumbing and fixtures? Or maybe you find a modern and unexpected twist on traditional amenities. (The one-way mirror over the urinals in the new Jerome Bettis Grille 36 on the North Shore allows men to peer into the barroom as they pee.)

Whenever talk turns to great restrooms around here, I always think of the stately facilities in the old “castle” in Wilmerding, the building that George Westinghouse built as the headquarters of Westinghouse Air Brake and where he kept his personal office for many years. The George Westinghouse Museum used to be there, too; (it’s since become part of the Heinz History Center in the Strip). I first went to the men’s room there when we were shooting our program called “Pittsburgh A to Z” because we said “W” was for Westinghouse in Wilmerding. And like some sort of crackpot, I took several photos of the old restroom.

It’s on the first floor. There’s a line of beautiful old pedestal sinks. The marble stalls still have oak doors and antique hardware. Big old-style porcelain vase-like urinals rise up from the floor. It’s like a time machine. Did George Westinghouse himself pause here? Probably.

There obviously are lots of such memorable men’s and ladies’ rooms around this area. And I think we ought to point out a few at various times right here on this back page. Maybe you know one or two. Maybe you have a favorite. Either way, please send me an e-mail at reallycoolrestrooms@wqed.org because I’m starting a list. And we’ll continue celebrating some of these places sporadically.

Actually, although we didn’t shoot any video of the Westinghouse men’s room, over the years we’ve included several bathroom stories in our TV documentaries. In 2007’s “Underground Pittsburgh,” we highlighted a Pittsburgh potty (one of those out-in-the-open toilets you often find in old basements around here) on the South Side. And in our 1992 program titled “Downtown Pittsburgh,” we went up in the Frick Building to see Henry Clay Frick’s snazzy private restroom (with shower!) In our 2004 PBS production called “A Program About Unusual Buildings,” we included views of the bathrooms in the Shoe House in York, Pa., as well as those in each of the tepees at the Wigwam Village Motel in Cave City, Ky. In “North Side Story” back in 1997, when people still used such things, we showed the only pay phone at Max’s Allegheny Tavern. It was in the men’s room, and everybody used it.

Such odd but necessary places are worth recognizing and noting. Over the coming months, we’ll try to share some of this information. We’ll all learn new places to go in western Pennsylvania, home of the original Fort Necessity, inspiration for countless bathroom jokes since 1754. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

The Downtown restaurant is a captivating, if costly, catch.

Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Pittsburgh is a city that celebrates its neighborhood bars. In some of those spots, second- and third-generation regulars are pulling up their stools to be served by someone who started pouring drinks decades ago.

Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

People working to overcome substance abuse problems and ex-offenders discover a welcoming environment in restaurant kitchens.

How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

Looking to beat the winter doldrums? We round up the best places and experiences for a little personal indulgence.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

The Growing Popularity of Shooting a Clay Pigeon

Skeet shooting is taking off as a favored western Pennsylvania hobby.

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Andrew McCutchen: Thanks for the Memories

It's hard to overemphasize McCutchen's impact on the Pirates and its fan base.

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Chefs Becca Hegarty and Rick Easton to cook comfort food to help Hegarty’s mother.

Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

Big Ben Not Ready to Retire –– But He's Making Plans

Ben Roethlisberger will do as many former athletes have and start the next phase of his career with a dining venture.

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

Comments

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

Comments

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Chefs Becca Hegarty and Rick Easton to cook comfort food to help Hegarty’s mother.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

The winner received the most votes among five dogs, four cats and a bunny.

Comments


Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

The bar, which hosted a bizarre incident involving a top Steelers coach, is fine enough for the post-collegiate set.

Comments

Five Essential January Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential January Events in Pittsburgh

Country crooners, unsung pop icons, on-ice acrobatics and more winter warmers.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

Comments

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

The Patriots are to the Steelers what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab and that kind of obsession can backfire.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments

Documentary Week at Row House Brings Fresh, Invigorating Films

Documentary Week at Row House Brings Fresh, Invigorating Films

Reviews of "Rat Film" and "Big Sonia," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

Comments

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

Thinking of popping the question? Take a note from these grooms-to-be who set the bar high.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

Comments

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Frustrated by his sterile white classroom, teacher Greg Geibel earned an A+ from students when he transformed the space into something resembling a modern coffeehouse.

Comments