by Emily Dressler
At 106 North Main Street in the Northside District, the bathroom downstairs offers a trip back in time. This building was built in 1916 and currently houses the consignment and all-around interesting shop, the Northside Cellar, and a secondhand bookstore, Trust Books.
Many industrial buildings built before the 1950s have a nostalgic and comforting feeling that reminds me of old schools. This building is no different. Actually, the bathroom in this building ventures past nostalgia and is practically a museum.
An out-of-service “Auto Matron” dispenser of pads — or sanitary napkins, if you must — gives this bathroom its vintage feeling, even though period care never goes out of style. This throwback vending machine reminds us that period supplies in public restrooms have always been just as essential as the regular fixings we’re used to, like toilet paper, soap and water. The machine was currently empty, however, because we’ve moved toward a “fend for yourselves” mentality.
The company responsible for the vending machine, the Hospitality Specialty Company in Cleveland, is still in business today. According to their website, they are currently the largest supplier of toilet seat covers in North America. We live in the greatest state in the land, truly.
Next to the company name on the vending machine is text that reads “Cleveland 3, Ohio.” If someone could tell me why the 3 is there I would appreciate it.
In addition to the vintage artifacts, there are two small stalls. It looks like someone added a modern toilet paper dispenser that holds a few rolls, but they kept the old one, too. The old one is a small quaint box. Needs were not as supersized when this bathroom was designed. All you got was a small box of toilet paper and no one complained, okay?
The walls in this restroom are a lovely green, my favorite. An Edison-type bulb with an industrial wall sconce illuminates the room. I can’t tell if it’s a legit old industrial item or if it’s a new thing masquerading.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this bathroom. The major problem with it is that it’s not accessible for all users, especially considering that it’s downstairs and I’m not sure there’s an elevator. Change takes time though. This bathroom still gets a 4/5.
Emily Dressler has been writing about Akron bathrooms since… 2015?