Thomas & Katherine Detre Library & Archives Treasures: Backstage at Monroeville’s Holiday House


Along a stretch of Route 22 known today more for strip malls than nightlife, the Holiday House once attracted top-tier musical and comedic acts to the outskirts of Pittsburgh. John Bertera, along with his brothers James and Mario, established the business on the grounds of a former used car lot in Monroeville in 1955. The choice of location proved to be a wise business decision, as Monroeville’s population nearly doubled in the 1950s with Westinghouse, U. S. Steel, and Koppers all building research centers in town. In addition, the extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Monroeville in 1951 led local boosters to dub the interchange, the gateway entrance, and Monroeville itself as the “Gateway to Pittsburgh.”

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