Inaugurating a new throne at the Glessner House

Inaugurating a new throne at the Glessner House
photos/Glessner House Museum

The Gilded Age first floor "powder room" at the 1887 landmark Glessner House at 18th and Prairie has finally been restored.  And guess who inaugurated it?

It just so happens I was giving a tour to Palos Park schoolchildren Friday morning in my role as a docent at the Glessner House Museum.  Which happened to be the morning after the finishing touches were done to the little bathroom.  And nature suddenly called.  Lucky me--I was told that the grungy old loo (that hadn't had a thing done to it for at least 40 years) was finally brand spanking new--but looking very old--and was ready for action.

So I took action.  And added a feather to my cap.

It was positively beautiful--clean, sweet-smelling, with magnificent carpentry abounding, not to mention harboring the most lovely fixtures and accessories this side of the Atlantic.  Some were purchased from the Crapper Company in England; contrary to popular belief and quite ironically, that is not how the word "crap" came into being oh so long ago.  Albeit the word "crapper" did.  Read the story here.

The Glessner House throne is not the first one I have inaugurated.  Decades ago, when I was a telephone installer for Illinois Bell, I was installing phones in an empty apartment in a building that was brand new.  (If you must know, the address of the sleek black high rise happened to be 5415 N. Sheridan Road.)  And nature called.  Problem was, the building was so new, the toilet didn't flush.  I always wondered what the new tenants thought when they arrived to see their new phones and their used toilet.

Frankly, I have always been interested in WCs.  I wrote an award-winning story a few years ago about South Loop restrooms, pegged on the fact that the Field Museum, a South Loop monument had just won the best bathroom in the country contest or some such.  In any case, I'm apparently not alone in putting thrones on a pedestal.

Then  just recently, an interesting bathroom aboard a pontoon boat for sale at the boat show caught my eye.

In any case, the story of the Glessner guest bathroom restoration is a great story to savor and enjoy, written up in great detail by the museum's executive director Bill Tyre.  In fact, a whole tour of the museum--Wednesday through Sunday afternoons--is a great idea.  And if you happen to have to visit the bathroom, not to worry.

But remember, what the Glessners thought of as the "guest" bathroom and now fully brought back to life as it was in the 1880s, has already been used by none other than.  Me.

14-04-07 overall

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