I’ve visited a lot of strange and unusual spots in Pennsylvania, but I’ve never been anywhere quite like Trundle Manor in Pittsburgh.
Trundle Manor is the private home of Mr. Arm and Velda Von Minx and is located in the Swissvale neighborhood in east Pittsburgh. It describes itself as “The most unusual tourist trap in the world meets the most bizarre private collection on public display”, which seems like a quite fitting description for this unusual residence.
The homeowners opened their home to tours in 2009 and offer a peek into their very unusual and eclectic collection of items by appointment. Since this is a private residence, don’t just show up here and expect a tour. Make sure to reach out to them via their website as early as possible to arrange a time to visit (typically on weekday evenings and on weekend afternoons).
Trundle Manor is definitely a bizarre collection of items ranging from 100-year-old taxidermy to meat cleavers, handmade robots, and even a singing tumor (more on that later).
What’s even more incredible is that many of the items on display were created by Mr. Arm and Velda Von Minx themselves, though they make sure you know that they did not kill or torture any of the animals that they have taxidermied themselves. However, they do have their own deceased cat and a friend’s deceased dog on display after preservation.
Tours last about 45 minutes and take you through four rooms on the lower level of the home. While there are no steps on the tour, note that there are a fair number of steps to get into the home.
The rooms on the tour of Trundle Manor are chock full of items. In fact, you could probably spend all day here and still miss something.
Display cases are overflowing, decades-old taxidermied items are stacked multiple layers deep throughout the space, and a myriad of items also hang from the walls and over doorways. Somehow, though, the collection keeps growing as new items are found, made, or donated to Trundle Manor.
During your tour, one of the homeowners guides you through the space offering stories about various pieces and interesting tidbits (such as the fake and creepy dog made by Mr. Arm when he was a child). Visitors are also welcome to ask about items they find interesting, and if you love the strange and macabre, you are sure to find plenty of things to ask questions about during your visit.
One of the most unusual pieces is Olivia’s Singing Tumor, which is located just inside the main entrance to the home.
This is an actual benign tumor that was removed from a friend’s body and has been given a place of honor inside a glass jar. It has been rigged to lights and music to create one of the most interesting displays you’ll ever see. It’s even said that the woman who donated the tumor comes by the visit it from time to time.
The largest room in the space is the home’s main parlor. This room is not just full of more unusual displays but also serves as their personal living room, complete with a hidden video game system and projector screen.
In this space, you can find their now-deceased pet car, which has been freeze-dried and placed in an enclosure, right next to a giant painting that features its likeness, and a collection of meat cleavers in case of a zombie attack (Pittsburgh is the birthplace of zombies after all!)
Tours end with the chance to go through a hidden doorway into the home’s kitchen, which is also filled with incredible items and is one of the most unique spaces in the home. There is also a small gift shop here with everything from stickers to homemade Halloween costumes.
Through the back door, visitors can also see the homeowners’ cars, including one that has been modified to shoot flames six feet into the air. While they don’t demonstrate the flames, the modifications on this car are really interesting to look at.
It’s worth noting that there is no specific charge to tour Trundle Manor. However, donations are accepted, and they have a jar near the door for those with cash. They also accept strange oddities as a donation and some of the items pointed out during my visit were donated by past visitors, which really adds a unique twist to the collection here. They also accept non-beer alcohol as a donation as well, according to their website.
Overall Trundle Manor is one of the most unusual places I’ve ever been, and to think that this doubles as someone’s private home is truly mindboggling.
The collection here is one of the most eclectic you’ll find anywhere and probably isn’t for everyone (including young kids who like to grab things and the easily squeamish). However, for those who enjoy strange oddities, unique art, and simply exploring the unusual, this is definitely a stop you won’t want to miss in Pittsburgh.
Hours: By Appointment Only
Cost: Donations Requested
Address: 7724 Juniata St