Public Restroom To Sandwich Shop

Boston, Massachusetts
Did you know a public men’s bathroom in the Boston Common was transformed into a sandwich shop? Kind of gross and kind of cool. Very obscure.
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Did you know a public men’s bathroom in the Boston Common was transformed into a sandwich shop? Kind of gross and kind of cool. Very obscure.

Nestled within Boston Common, amidst the verdant expanse of parkland, lies an unassuming yet historically significant structure – The Earl of Sandwich. Housed within an octagonal stone building, this charming eatery was once a men’s public bathroom.

Built in 1916, the 660-square foot building, affectionately dubbed the “Pink Palace” due to its colored masonry, stood as a testament to the city’s commitment to public welfare. However, by the 1970s, its purpose as a restroom had long been abandoned, and it fell into disrepair, languishing behind an iron fence.

The decrepit state of the building painted a stark picture of neglect, resembling more of a forgotten tomb than a public amenity. An engineering report commissioned by the City of Boston highlighted the dire condition of the structure, noting its crumbling facade, damaged entry door, and deteriorating interior finishes.

Despite its dilapidated state, the building retained its historical significance, recognized as one of nine historic structures on Boston Common. Situated near the center of the park, amidst athletic fields and the Parkman Bandstand, its restoration was deemed essential to preserving the heritage of the area.

Enter The Earl of Sandwich, a national chain based in Orlando, Florida, which saw potential in the historic building. Investing over a million dollars in renovations, the company embarked on a comprehensive restoration project, breathing new life into the aging structure.

Both interior and exterior elements underwent meticulous restoration, with a focus on retaining the building’s original appearance. Clerestory windows and the roof’s copper flashing were lovingly preserved, paying homage to the building’s rich history.

A new 24-faceted copper roof, replicating the form of the original skylight, was installed, along with meticulously replicated roof monitors and ventilators. The result is a seamless blend of past and present, where modern convenience meets historical charm.

Today, The Earl of Sandwich stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Boston Common, serving as a vibrant culinary destination within the park’s tranquil surroundings. With its rich history and carefully preserved architecture, it invites visitors to indulge in a taste of the past while savoring the flavors of the present.


Address: 139 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.354306, -71.066444
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.354306, -71.066444
Parking Notes: Visitors can park just steps away by parking at the Boston Common Garage. Other parking options can be found nearby on streets and in lots along with garages too.

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