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Public Comfort House -

Public Comfort House at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876

The thoughtful attention which the centenary authorities gave to the subjects entrusted to them can be more remarkably demonstrated than in the circumstances connected with the erection of the House of Public Comfort.

The proper ordering of the sizes, shapes and objects of exhibition buildings is the ordinary and expected competence of managers, but the Department of Public Comfort may never have been created, and no visitor or exhibitor would have thought of the need for anything of the kind. Yet to the outsider who learns of the existence of such an establishment, almost no other information would be more welcome.

The Maison du Confort Public is a place where everyone will find the means for individual accommodation. It is furnished with ladies' and gentlemen's bathrooms, reception rooms, lounges and resting places, hairdressers and baths, blacking and brushing supplies, rooms and desks for writing, with paper and postage stamps, newspaper and magazine kiosks. He receives, preserves and restores coat racks, parcels, bundles and lunch boxes. It takes care of umbrellas and provides them for use in case of sudden rain. It comes with messengers and has a telegraph connection. It can be a meeting place for visitors who wish to travel different routes. To top it all off, it will provide the weary traveller with lunch and refreshments. There is scarcely a need which a visitor to the exhibition can have which cannot be accommodated in this house of comfort; and as the idea of the establishment did not come from private speculation, but was really an object of the Commission for the relief of visitors, the official management deserves thanks for the origin of such a happy idea.

The Maison du Confort Public occupies a solid square of land measuring 100x100 feet. The façade shows a central building of two storeys, the upper one being a covered gallery, offering shade and a fine view of the lively scenes of Centennial Park. A small square bell tower with a pointed roof adjoins it. The main building is joined by wings to the east and west to two side buildings. The eastern one is occupied by the General Telegraph Department and the American District Telegraph. The western section is occupied as the office of the United States Centennial Commission.

Those who understand, know that the House of Public Comfort is one of the most useful in the field, and that the title is not inappropriate. The builders were Balderston and Hutton of Philadelphia, under special contract to the Centennial Commission. The establishment is under the supervision of W. Marsh Kasson.

©Centennial portfolio: a souvenir of the international exhibition at Philadelphia - 1876