Laundry on Main
Directly across from the Main Street Post Office, nestled between Park City Artworks and the Thomas Kearns McCarthey Gallery, lies a small, inconspicuous door. There is no sign above it because the business only advertises on the glass pane of the door itself. A painted border surrounds just two words ‘Anderson Laundromat.’ Behind the door lies a long, narrow corridor that leads to, well, a Laundromat. Eleven washers run in a double-line across the middle of the room and nine dryers cover the back wall. A small detergent/fabric softener dispenser hangs from the wall. The bustle of Main Street lies no more than fifty feet behind but is in another world entirely. How on earth does such a place survive amid the jumble of bars, restaurants, and galleries? "Word of mouth." Says Trudy Piva, manager of the Laundromat and life-long resident of Park City. She also runs the Anderson Apartments that fill the upstairs of the same building. In the winter they offer nightly rentals of two suites and a third, two-bed room smack dab in the middle of Main Street. Howard Anderson, Piva’s father who served in World War II as an Army mechanic, planned on stay in Utah for only six months when he came to live with his brother. In 1947 he purchased the building that now contains the Laundromat and apartments that hold his name, where he lived until his death in 1989. 465 Main Street did not become an apartment building until the 60’s, and the apartments did not have their own Laundromat until the early seventies. "We realized that there wasn’t a public Laundromat in town," says Piva. "Someone else got the same idea about the same time and opened one on Park Ave., below the library." It has since gone out of business, making Anderson Laundromat the longest standing in town. Originally the machines where in the front of the building, next to the street, but were removed to their current, secluded position when the Andersons sold the valuable street front property to an art store. While the Laundromat not longer has a large street window, it still boasts its central location for those who know where to look. And who does know where to look? "Some of the restaurants do their linens here and a lot of people who live in the condos on Park Ave. don’t have their own machines so use ours instead. And some locals like to go on laundry and bar runs," Piva explains. In fact, its location is not the only advantage that Anderson’s boasts. It is open from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., longer than either Ying’s Laundromat or Lost Sock Laundry. Also, it is cheaper, charging only $1.25 for a washer and 25 cents for a dryer as apposed to $1.75 and 50 cents at Ying’s and $2.00 and 25 cents at Lost Sock. Despite this, Piva says that the laundry business was hurt with the advent of pay parking on Main Street. However, this is not much of a drawback for those who are willing to multitask, as shown by those who head for the bars. It is easy enough to drop off a load, then stroll one of the nearby buildings, be it a pub or an art gallery, until it is time to switch over the dryer. When asked if machines are ever filled up Piva laughed. "Sometimes I come down at night to put a load in and have to wait ’till morning because everything’s full." And sometimes in the morning the Laundromat forces her to wake. "We have a regular, a painter, who has been coming here for years. He does his wash every Saturday morning, and if I’m not up by eight to open the door he’ll give me a call and ask when I’m going to get around to it." So this Main Street eccentricity lives on as a final, practical reminder that Main Street was once a place where locals lived, shopped for groceries, and went to launder their clothes.
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