A Corner-Seat Privy with a Concrete Seat Holder

Tacoma & Eastern Branch of The Milwaukee Road 
(where the Corner-seat Outhouse is located)
Where the Corner-Seat Outhouse is Located
Photo by T. Hawksworth
The north side of the depot shows the privy beside the tree in right background. Local lumber mill product is stacked behind. Morton Depot
The Morton Depot and Outhouse in the background
Photo by T. Hawksworth
The Corner-Seat Outhouse An angle shot showing the outhouse from the front left side. The seat is located directly behind this wall.
The Corner-Seat Outhouse
Photo by T. Hawksworth
An enlargement of the privy and the front entrance. This shows the seat oriented at a 45 degree angle to the layout of the structure. The lid is raised; visible are some of the vines which have grown out of it. The edge of the concrete floor and the concrete seat riser are clearly visible. Front entrance showing corner seat in the outhouse
Front entrance showing corner seat in the Outhouse
Photo by T. Hawksworth
Looking down at the seat This view is looking down on the seat structure with the lid closed. Notice the screen between the hinge bases at the rear. This vented the pit, up through a square wooden pipe to connect with a horizontal 6" square wooden pipe, aligned with the seat back, at shoulder height. It reaches from the side wall to the back wall, vented outside at each end.
Looking down at the Seat
Photo by T. Hawksworth
Seat with lide raised, showing clearly the interior of the cast concrete seat riser. Seat with Lid Raised
Seat with Lid Raised
Photo by T. Hawksworth
Cast Concrete Outhouse Seat Riser With the seat assembly removed, this illustrates the cast concrete floor with the molded-in cast concrete seat riser. You can also see what appears to be a catalog rack and a floor vent below it on the side wall.
Cast Concrete Outhouse Seat Riser
Photo by T. Hawksworth
I received a comment from Mr. T. Hawksworth which said he found an outhouse that had a corner seat. He photographed the outhouse at Morton, WA. Unfortunately, the light was such that he was unable to see the interior. He has had occasion to use a number of these facilities (outhouses) with a variety of interior arrangements, but had never seen a corner seat. He told me he will try to go back with a flash attachment some day.
When he returned to the site, he was amazed to discover the floor and seat riser molded out of cast concrete, something of which he had not been aware of. It is a beautiful piece of work. The locals, accepting this design, could not recall having seen or heard of a similar facility. The cast concrete is hardly something someone would devise for just one privy. It must have been made to be mass-marketed, but if that was the case, why hasn't someone reported it before to the Outhouses of America tour? Mr. Hawksworth surmises that the Milwaukee purchasing agent purchased it from a supplier somewhere on the line, and sent it out when needed.
Without a porous floor, venting would have occurred only through the seat riser. The venting mentioned in connection with the picture shown above was an ingenious way of relieving the gases generated in the pit. In this very moist climate, the likelihood of falling into the pit as a wooden floor rotted away was eliminated, and also permitted a high degree of cleanliness.
The 45 degree angle formed by a seated user, permitted a smaller overall structure. This privy measures only 4' x 4' at the base.
The outhouse is located behind the defunct Milwaukee Road depot, which also housed the agent and his family. That would put the outhouse to the left of the structure shown in the upper left picture.As you face the outhouse, the seat was in the left rear corner. From the hinges, it would appear that the door opened out, which would be a whole lot more sensible than opening inward.
The structures shown in the photographs are located on what was the Tacoma & Eastern branch of The Milwaukee Road (CMSt. P & P) devoted entirely to logging. Since the demise of that railroad, the property, extending from Tacoma, is now owned by the City of Tacoma. In conjunction with the National Park Service, the city plans on establishing passenger service to the Ashford entrance to Rainier National Park as a means of eliminating motor vehicle traffic. Currently this stretch leading from the main line into Morton and Mineral, WA is leased to the Mt. Ranier Scenic Railway Co. which operates a dinner train over it during the tourist season.
What else can you see in the images shown? Many times a photo is worth a thousand words and I've only elaborated with a few so here is your chance to add some "color commentary" to my collection. If your addition is worthy, you will find the quote added on the Comments to the Curator page. You can use Email to respond.


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This Home Page was created on January 11, 1998
Most recent revision June 7, 1998