Primanti's now part of miniature railroad


November 7, 2017

Carnegie Science Center has unveiled the latest historic installation in its Miniature Railroad & Village® exhibit: Primanti Bros. in the Strip District. Known for its towering coleslaw-and-french-fry-topped sandwiches, the restaurant has welcomed patrons along 18th and Smallman Street since 1933.

“Primanti Bros. is a quintessential Pittsburgh story; proud, gritty, enduring and beloved,” says Patty Everly, curator of Historic Exhibits at Carnegie Science Center. “It’s a prominent part of Pittsburgh’s culture and with its deep roots in the rich story of the Strip District, is a fitting addition to the Miniature Railroad.”

Joe Primanti started serving hungry industry workers coming through the Strip from a sandwich cart in the 1920s. His humble operation has grown to more than 40 restaurants throughout the country, with its flagship location in the Strip still drawing in generations of blue collar workers, businesspeople, families, and folks looking for a late-night bite after the last call.

The Miniature Railroad & Village® has been a staple at the Science Center since 1992. It was first created by Charles Bowdish in 1919 and displayed at his home. In 1954, the display moved to Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. 

Relocated to Carnegie Science Center in 1992, the miniature railroad is as popular as ever. Each fall, a new model is added to the display to further expand its coverage of the region’s history.

Among the favorite eye-catching replicas in the exhibit are Fallingwater, the Monongahela Incline, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Forbes Field.

The Miniature Railroad & Village® is open during the Science Center’s regular operating hours and is included with general admission. The exhibit will re-open to the public on Nov. 20.

For more information about this or any other Science Center exhibits, call 412-237-3400 or visit


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