At first glance, there aren't many reasons for outsiders to visit Sulphur Springs. Obvious concerns about water potability aside, the lure of low-brow chain restaurants and curiosity as to why Ocean Spray bottles its juice there are rarely enough to divert travelers off of Interstate 30.
Then again, those drivers haven't seen the city's latest marketing push, which is summed up in the headline of a press release sent from an official city of Sulphur Springs email account: "SULPHUR SPRINGS FACILITY IS FINALIST IN AMERICA'S BEST RESTROOM CONTEST."
This contest is not made up. It's sponsored by Cintas, the bathroom-supply giant. To emerge triumphant, Sulphur Springs' lavatory will have to best a Wisconsin art center's intricately tiled "Social History of Architecture"; a San Francisco loo that has been deemed "one of the top 10 places in the city to take a date"; and the facilities at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
You're probably wondering by this point what could Sulphur Springs could possibly add to make the experience of relieving oneself so unique.
Three words: one-way mirrors.
The bathroom walls are built of nothing else, "so people inside can see out, but those outside cannot see in," the city brags.
According to official lore, the see-through concept was inspired by an art piece, Monica Bonvicini's "Don't Miss A Sec.", first presented by the artist in London as a challenge to visitors to "defy their own embarrassment."
The Sulphur Springs version opened last fall on its downtown square to the excitement of locals.
"I was excited about it. I think it's really neat and I have been standing outside long enough to know that I could not see in," one fan told a local news station in November. "So it wasn't too bad, but it was strange when you had four men standing out there looking in the door, but they couldn't see me."
If you get off on that sort of thing, take I-30 Exit 124. Otherwise, keep driving.