Monday, April 22, 2013

Monongahela House Ladies Restaurant

From the Indiana Democrat,
June 15, 1910
Monongahela House Ladies Restaurant

Location: Corner of Smithfield and Water Streets (now
known as Fort Pitt Boulevard), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Opened: Hotel originally built in 1840; rebuilt in 1847 after it was destroyed during Pittsburgh's Great Fire of 1845

Closed: Hotel was razed in 1935

The Mongahela House has a long and glorious history with many esteemed guests. But I'm not going to go into all that here.

For our purposes, I just want to call your attention to the Ladies Restaurant, which is mentioned in the 1910 advertisement reproduced above.
Monongahela House (1935)

What is remarkable here, is that in an ad praising the many virtues of the Monoghahela House ("World renowned, centrally located, large airy rooms") we discover that there was a Ladies Restaurant that was actually on the first floor!

Regular Lost readers will probably recognize how rare this actually was. The vast majority of Ladies Restaurants were squeezed into maginal commercial space--typically the second floor, though sometimes the basement. At any rate, they were virtually never accorded prime square footage on the first floor where the (higher value) Gentlemen's Cafe, Dining Room, or Grill were located.

The Ladies Restaurant probably dates to 1907, when "the Monon" was remodeled. A 1908 book on Pittsburgh tells us the following about the Ladies Restaurant:

The ladies' parlours and ladies' and gentlemen's restaurants on the first floor are models of exquisite taste and rare beauty, while the scenery along the river front, looking toward Mount Washington across the waters of the sweeping Monongahela, is indeed one of picturesque beauty.

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