Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Griswold Hotel Ladies Cafe

Uniontown Morning Herald,
April 21, 1910
Griswold Hotel Ladies Cafe

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Opened: 1910

Closed: ?

One hundred years ago, it was not unusual for businessmen to create spaces for women as something of an afterthought. As a result, the resulting women's space was not only marginalized physically in relation to any existing men's space, but it was typically regarded as far less important or valuable in other ways.

The Griswold Hotel Ladies Cafe perfectly illustrates this concept. Check out this ad from 1910, which I have reproduced in part below:

Mr. [Walter] Herrington has remodeled the Griswold. A ladies' cafe on the second floor is a new feature. On May 2 the Griwold will open a Gents' Cafe on the ground floor and this is sure to be well stocked with the best wines and liquors, seven-year-old pure rye whiskey is served over few bars, but the Griswold serves it. Moreland's Beer is always on tap. When you go to Pittsburg stop at the Griswold.

Forbes Field (1910)
Hmm. Do the ladies who hiked up the steps to the second floor also get the best wines and liquors? Or seven-year-old pure rye whiskey? How about that Moreland's Beer? It's not clear to me that they do. Maybe just iced tea and lemonade? It's obvious that Mr. Herrington really doesn't much care, as he can't be bothered to tell us anything about the ladies' cafe, except that it's upstairs from the ground floor Gents' Cafe.

Well, hopefully the ladies that patronized the ladies' cafe enjoyed the baseball game...and the time away from their drunken husbands downstairs.

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