- I loved the site with the outhouse races, I was born and raised in
Trenary and it's great to see it on the internet and hopefully it will bring
more people to check it out. Besides that the outhouse races are a really
- I LOVE YOUR SITE. I HAVE AN OUTHOUSE AT MY CAMP THAT IS MADE FROM BARK
AND FITS IN, ER, NATUALLY. IF YOU WOULD LIKE, I CAN GET YOU A PICTURE. BYE!
- Just came from your outhouse page and it really brought back memories!
My grandma had a two-holer (but both holes were the same size!) with the Sears
Catalog in place always. My cousins and I would go to the outhouse and sit
to talk where the "grown-ups" could not hear us and we could tell our secrets
in peace. And, oh the hollyhocks! Grandma had the most beautiful hollyhocks
in the county...all growing around our "clubhouse" to hide it. To this day
I have not seen more beautiful hollyhocks. Oh the memories.....thank you!
- [Speaking of the Outhouse Races...] We especially loved the "Scratch
and Sniff" outhouse! We'll try to make it there sometime to see the races.
Thanks for the great laughs! Tim and Lisa
- Betcha you haven't seen one like I built for a hunting camp in Pennsylvania.
It was made out of 12ga. steel and "Hot Dip Galvanized" to last for many years.
It's a two hole, one for a partner or spitting, electric lights and heat lamps
for taking the chill off. All you do is switch on the lights as you leave
the main camp and by the time you get to the "Library" it's toasty warm. It
can be found just off of Rt. 555 So. West of Driftwood, Pa. The camp is owned
by a group out of Buffalo, NY. They call it the Frontier Camp. A few years
ago one of the leaders there asked me to build something that would keep out
the skunks,porkies and other critters, and also be eaiser to maintain. Well
he was very proud of the new one had it insulated and everything else aforementioned.
It was pretty much bullet proof too, another request! The only mistake made
was he didn't ask for a hinged roof. So if it fell into the hole you couldn't
get out !So the door is all ways open while in use, to give one a way out!
It was the talk of the area for a long time, seen more butts than an ashtray
too! Later, Wild Bill
- Looks like the door needs a well placed board or two! Could this be
the first roadside rest area! Certainly not worth the $2 mil. cost nowadays!
While on tour in the west my wife and I visited a ghost town and the Hotel
there was a two story bldg. . It also had a two story outhouse! Yep, one directly
above the other! Makes one wonder if it wouldn't be better to reside on the
second floor regardless of the view! a little wooden bridge connected the
two bldgs. on the second floor with a wooden sidewalk on the ground floor!
Looking up one could see tin sheeting used as a shield to protect the lower
users. Just can't remember what town it was. If it's important write back
maybe my wife will know. first time at your site just moving through!
- [This is long but worth reading] Way back in ancient history (that's
any time before the current bureaucrats term started) the house I am now living
in was built. Being on the shoreline of a Minnesota Lake and thus subject
to the foibles of the Land of 10,000 laws, 10,000 regulations, 10,000 taxes,
10,000 useless and unneeded bureaucrats: A number which like that of the one
displayed on our license plates, the 10,000 number is a gross understatement!
But, back to the tale, When I purchased said home, the then current owner,
and also the person that 'built the house' informed me the septic tank while
legal when installed it was 12 years old, and the genre` of the time was a
limited life span was recognized to be 10 - 15 years at which time they would
require removal and replacement. True to form, that time came, and it was
truly the day the septic contents stood still;(well, except the contents of
said tank stood still, and what had so previously flowed into the tank, where
what ever dark magic occurred, ceased, and all subsequent 'additions' found
a new site...my basement!) Thus being faced or should I say odiferied, even
this Noregia...Norwejin...my ancestors came from Norway, came to the conclusion
finally something so plain I would have to do something other than opening
the walkout basement door. That was OK for the summer, but not ideal in winter
(A wrinkle on the saying here, "don't eat yellow snow" became "don't eat brown
snow". I hope I warned you not to eat while pursuing this scatological satire).
Alas, I digress again. IT was decided, (Healrd of trumpets here) *put in a
new septic tank*! Thus competent plumber was called, came, convulsed in cajolery
but consented to see thru to consummation of *the project*. He than put in
order for parts he needed, contacted electrician for instillation of power
to lift pumps and switches, the subcontractor to do the needed backhow work,
the sand and gravel company to remove any excess material displaced by the
lift station, the holding tank, the septic tank, and the drain field, and
of course, after hauling that to an approved dumping site, return with the
regulation sand, rock, black dirt, (and perhaps an extra dead body the local
bad guys might have lying around some place), I feel I'm missing someone(s).
Waiting the weeks to receive from all the subcontractors, as well as his own,
proposals for: Minnesota Lake Shore Management, Minnesota EPA (Everybody Pays
Astronomically), Shoreline Administration, et.al. Began the arduous task of
installation of (what were we talking about? S--t I'm getting forgetful--oh
that's it, s--t), said septic system. First and foremost, *timing* after all
he had to make an appointment with someone from Lakeshore Management to be
*on site at all time* during which *any* work was done. General Ike thought
Operation 'Overlord' was a logistical nightmare, his was a piece of cake.
(At this point I most truly apologize to anyone offended by above reference
when so many men gave their lives, fought and died in WWII). Finally *the
day*. All the contractors, subcontractors, supplies, equipment arrive promptly
at starting time, had coffee for an hour or two;then waited for the bureaucrats
to show up, find him a chair in the shade, make him comfortable, insuring
he was situated so he could see anything and everything going on if he should
glance up from the comic books he was reading, or and up wind In case anybody
working decided to have a cigarette (Cigarettes only please, no pipes nor
cigars. We must take pride in Minnesota's Clean Air Act and certainly observe
it to the letter. OOPS, almost forgot, had to find an ashtray for the bureaucrats!)
Fortunately I was totally and blissfully unaware of just what this project
was all about until I came home at noon time and saw my adjacent lot beginning
to take on a look that would put the Misabbi Iron Ore Pits to shame. Naturally
I was a bit curious as to what was going on, an especially who was that chap
up in the lounge chair drinking coffee, smoking his cigar, reading comic books;
and why did he have a camera there beside him. When I heard his title, I understood
all except the camera but to be glad, *the State* was giving us a break, only
one...usually they send two, one to write on a 'blackboard' that listed site,
project, time, and what was being done. Virtually every step of the way, this
poor chap had to get up, make up his own sign put it by site, take picture,
then that part of work could start. Luck was with us, because after 3 pictures
the *bureaucrat* (small slip there, sorry) he decided to forgo any but the
*most important* portions. Thus saving enough time the job would be completed
in one day instead of the usually two! He limited pictures to putting in lift
station, holding tank, septic tank, and the drainfield, saying he was able
to get all in one picture, Quite a feat when distance start (at house) to
end (last part of drain field) was 120 feet! However, credit where credit
due, *he* did take multiple pictures of the entire process of locating, removal
of old septic tank, the sealing of the drain pipe to it, and then the proper
fill. First large gravel, then pea-gravel, then sand, black top, and the resodding
of the original site. Alas, the end of the day, the completion of a two day
project in one day, all topped off with a beautiful Minnesota Sunset over
the lake! True, a bit of a gulp when presented the bill for all this. But
it was over! Ya, you bet! Approximately 2 - 3 months later I got my mail,
and enclosed was a large envelope labeled to 'Do not Bend' 'Hand Cancel' reinforced
inside were 2 pieces of cardboard between which rested what at first looked
like a stock certificate, engraved boarders stating: "CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
SEWAGE SYSTEM then the body: This certificate has been issued this 3rd day
of January, 1984 to certify compliance with the regulations of Shoreland Management,
Otter Tail County, Minnesota. The premises covered by this certificate are
legally described as: Lake No. 56-239 Sec. 26 Twp 133 Range 40 Twp. Name Everts
Separate line in middle of *document* Tr. called Lots 39 & 40 of Beverly Beach
in GL 2.
Without a moments wasted, I dashed across the street, got a picture frame,
and it hangs right in the entry way to let anyone know should they need to
go # 1 or # 2, rest assured...They are using a compliant system (as of 1984).
Keeping my fingers crossed as just got the yearly letter of the people owning
property around West Battle Lake warning of upcoming inspections next summer,
Lake Shore Management will be going house to house, around the whole 27miles
of shoreline and *personally* talk with owner, and then 'inspect their system'.
Should they not be in compliance, may the Force of the Sewage Gods be with
them, they (we) are sitting ducks. So: Montana, you are not the only ones
plagued by the inept, empowered with tomes of regulations, subregulations,
and should that be inadequate, the County has the State of Minnesota, to fall
back for more rules and regulations, and they in turn have the Government
of the People, By the People, and Of the People of these United State of America;
it's various departments to help such as EPA, OSHA, FDA, FBI, (well we are
40 miles to a State border) CIA (400 miles to a foreign nation: Canada) BNDD
and ATF (they always seem to come along for the ride, who knows they might
run into a place that does NOT have at least half a dozen firearms in plain
site; because like you Montana *everybody* has to have a shotgun, rifle, a
few 22's for the kids in place. The main difference: We use them to hunt with,
target shoot, and know, follow, and 99.9999% use responsibly and safely. Not
because of some legislative law, or worse yet a bureaucratic *official* reading
it into the Federal Register, thus make sense or not, *that is the law*. Right
now I'm wondering: Just how are they going to 'inspect a installed septic
system'? J. H. Myhre
- There is a fine two story outhouse behind the old hotel in San Juan
Batiste, CA The top story was used by the ladies so that they would not have
to pass through the bar downstairs.
Interesting story about my older brother. My dad sent him to the grocery store
to pick up a package of meat. For some reason, unknown to me, my brother was
mad with dad so on the way home he threw the package of meat down one of the
holes in our outhouse. When my dad found out what he had done he took him
out to the outhouse and held him by his ankles while he retrieved the meat
from the mess below. This took place in Minnesota. P. Young, Castroville,
- Hey, great site! I've been an outhouse-ologist for many years. (It's
genetic--my Mom sent me your URL!)
I used to own an outhouse in the Cascade Mountains--it had the best view I've
ever owned. AND! I once saw a bear from my seat there! Cliches come to life!
Also I have many, many outhouse postcards, including some real photo.
AND, I am the person who wrote the "Why do outhouses have half-moons on their
doors?" question in More of the Straight Dope.
My family is so laden with outhouse stories that I won't even start.....!
- What did I find interesting?" REALLY, not much! I am/was a city boy........
- Interesting site on Outhouses. I don't know about you but I am sure
glad they are not what we normally have to use these days.
I grew up in town so grew up with indoor plumbing. Yet, I had plenty exposure
to outhouses. That's ALL there was to do your duty in at campgrounds back
in the 50's. Oh, how I hated them - and the smell!! I learned how to "turn
my smeller off" without holding my nose. Many times I'd back up a tree out
away from the backhouse rather than go in those smelly buildings.
When I was young and would go visit my grandparents, they did have indoor
plumbing but still had an outhouse "out back". I remember my grandfather preferred
to go out there instead of using that fancy contraption in the bathroom in
the house! Sometimes when the bathroom was busy, I'd have to go outside and
use the "house with a path".
When I was married in the early 1960's, we moved into a house with no indoor
plumbing. (We still live in the same house!) Here we are, a couple of town
kids, newly married, and living in an old farm house with no bathroom. I felt
like I was camping the first year of our marriage. We found a thunderin' mug
in the junk pile here and quickly pressed it into it's original use. We'd
keep it in a screened in back porch and use it at night and inclimate weather.
I remember several mornings of needing to "go real bad", going out to the
outhouse only to find the door frozen shut with ice and snow. My husband had
to take an ax to break up the ice so I could go. Many other mornings, especially
in the winter, if it was a day I had to go to work in town, I'd just hold
it until I got to work so I could do it in comfort and WARM.
My mother-in-law was born in this house. She would come out here to the country
to visit us that first year and of course, she had to use the little house
hidden behind the lilac bush. She had lived in town since she was a teen ager
so I don't think she much liked having to go out there either, especially
in the winter.
Lo and behold, that next spring she had a contractor convert part of our back
porch into a full fledged bathroom, had a new well drilled, water piped into
the house and the kitchen modernized with running water and a modern sink.
We only "endured" the necessity of the outhouse for one year and that was
going on 40 years ago now, but I shall never forget it.
One interesting side note. When we moved here, there were two outhouses. The
newer one - which is still standing and we use for garden hoes, rakes, etc
and an older one. The older one was in disrepair so we tore it down one weekend
and burned it. To this day, I wish that we had kept the 3 holer seat that
was in that little house. Yes, it had THREE holes - and to make it more interesting,
they were heart shaped holes!
- Yahoo. this is the funniest site I have seen in a very long time. I
write a web newsletter and you are one of the sites I am listing for this
K. Carter Atlanta,Georgia
- enjoyed the webpage and thought you might enjoy a coffee table book
about outhouses: THE VANISHING AMERICAN OUTHOUSE, by Ronald S. Barlow [I've
already put in many plugs for this book]
Content includes history, architecture, pictures(past and present) postcards
and diagrams. It is a large paperback book which we have enjoyed reviewing
at various times and places. keep up the good work . charley and ruth
- I came across your website via a special "worst-of- the- web" feature
and could not resist checking it out. I have had a "working" outhouse for
almost 22 years now. I live in rural WV (yes, this state does have indoor
plumbing), but never got around to installing it. Started out as a back-to-nature
thing and just got used to it. It's not fancy...just an 'A' frame with a tin
roof, a door, and plastic sheathing on the front and back( it also has a small
deck in front because it's situated on an incline).
One thing I learned a long time ago was that the seat tends to get rather
cold in the winter. The first seat cover was knitted right on to the seat.
That lasted for 16 years. Then a friend ordered (I don't know where from)
a wool pile seat cover and matching lid cover. Have you ever gotten stuck
to a frosted seat? NOT funny!
Have to admit that with all of today's modern conveniences that people wonder
at my lifestyle. When it's a beautiful morning, the deer are in the fields
and the birds are singing all around, my thoughts turn to the person perched
on porcelain staring at a wall or tub (neither of which has any character)
and appreciate the REAL world that I am a part of. I believe that when I do
install indoor plumbing that I will still use the "library" for its connectivity...probably
on warmer days. Just wanted to drop you a note and let your readers know that
there are "privies" located all over this country and when the need arises
and I happen upon one it is usually my preferred choice.
- I once bid a job for a women is Hudson, Ohio who owned an old farm,
(as I recall it was almost two hundred years old) and it had an INDOOR outhouse....Was
this common...and do you know anything about these....These people had very
carefully restored this home and had left the "outhouse" in tack...I've always
been curious. maybe you can give me some answers...Thanks Peggy
- `was very pleased and impressed by your site-i am a historical curator
for a historic farm and village complex in livonia michigan-we have a couple
of outhouses at present and are looking to obtain one or two more-i am also
planning an event with the outhouse as the theme-any info on other such events
would help me "flush" mine out! thanks again. dennis
- Dear Sir:
I'm 75 Years Old,and Still not Constipated! If You ever had to go Out and
Brush the Snow off of the Seat and use a cold Sheet of an Out dated Catalog
as A substitute for CHARMIN.When the temp. Was about to get to the zero Mark.I
have to say this was the Best treatment For Constipation I Know Of. I would
certainly hate to try The newer Catalogs Now-a-days With them Slick Pages!
D. Mason Plainville KS. 67663
- back in about 1937 we lived in a small house on the shore of ham lake
in northern wisconsin. some rich people from chicago came up to the lake and
built both a cabin and a high quality outhouse. they painted a name on the
outhouse " Pee Pee TeePee". my parents thought that was so gross that they
did not want to let me visit there..............leo
- On our return from Denali National Park, in Alaska, we stopped at a
roadside tourist spot and a friend who was traveling with us bought for us
an exploding outhouse. There were lots there, and we supposed he had a corner
on the market. This one is a little different in that it isn't a pay toilet..
I suppose you'd be shot if you tried to charge someone to use it up there.
It has a sign on the door which says you shouldn't open it.. You would be
amazed at the number of cultured, intelligent human beings that just have
to see what is inside. Inevitably, each time we have guests there is a loud
bang and someone looks up with a sheepish grin.. caught I suppose in the act..
If you like, i'll try to remember to send a picture for your collection when
we get home.. Dave MacPherson. Friend sent your way.. don't get me started
- Came across the web site while visitng a message about outhouse racing
in Trenary, Michigan. I'm a traveling TV reporter that focuses on the unusual
stories of people, places and things. I ran across a double decker outhouse
northwest of Alma, Michigan. Don't know if you are interested but I will look
up the story I did on it about six years ago if you don't already have it
listed. I'm heading up north into the U.P. and Canada for a couple of weeks
and will be back around the 3rd of Feb. I will keep your web site in my files
as I'm sure I'll be looking for some unusual ones to visit with my cam in
the coming months. Thanks, Art Wainwright Rt. 10 - Tv 10 - Lansing, Michigan
- [This is one of the best books I have seen on the subject, besides my
future book. If you order one, tell the company you saw it on the Outhouses
of America web site and I would like my cut!] The Vanishing American Outhouse
by Ronald S. Barlow holds pride of place among my outhouse collectibles. It
sits in a rectangular shaped graniteware bedpan and makes perfect bathroom
reading for family and friends alike. Subtitled A History of Country Plumbing,
the 144 page book contains about 200 photos and plan drawings of American
privies constructed between 1820 and 1940, folklore and anecdotes, and even
plans to build your very own round brick outhouse.
To order, send $15.95 plus $3 postage to Windmill Publishing Company, 2147
Windmill View Road, Dept. MK, El Cajon, CA 92020.
- God keep up the good work
- My mother often told us this story
Sam, Sam the lavatory man
Chief inspector of the outhouse can
He issues the tissues and isses the towels
as he listens to the rumble of the human bowels
Way down deep under 'neth the ground big brown turds are floatin' around squish,
squash all over his shoes as he listens to the rythem of the outhouse blues
- Hard work is good for you;-),but fertilizer is expensive! I read an
series of articles on the net about the History of Plumbing, Roman plumbing
- history Plumbing Products fr... and they STILL never quite go into HOW to
"sanitize" what they move outta the house....
The ONLY viable way to make a toilet that SOLVES the problem,is re-use of
- I enjoyed the tour very much,and when reading the articles,said to myself
many times,been there,done that. I read the poem,The Passing of the Outhouse
about 50 years ago,and have looked for it to read again but never found it
until now. I have printed copies to give to my friends.
I should tell you of one story about the famous WPA toilet. About 1937,in
north east Arkansas,in the little town of Dyess,the WPA sent several crews
out to build the toilets for every house. The foreman of the crew that came
to our house was a likeable fellow,and bragged on his crew every time we were
near the site of the new privy. He even called my Father off to one side and
said that he had the best crew,and they were very proud of the quality of
their work. He repeatedly told my Father that when he build a toilet,it didn't
N ow the job was over,the crew left,and we began to use the new facility.
In two days time,it began to stink, in fact it reeked even worse than the
old one. A few days later,my Father saw the builder in town,called him off
to one side,and told him about the stink. With a straight face,the man said
he was so sorry to hear about that,and would come back and check it if needed.
As my Father started to leave,,the man called him back,and said that he had
been studying the problem,and thought there was one possible explanation.
My Dad asked for it,and the foreman said that there might be a possibility
that some one went out there and POOPED IN IT. Years later I worked with a
woman that had had the same story told to her Father,and she had been living
at least 200 miles from us.
If you can stand another privy story here goes. In the beginning of World
War II,I heard of the soldier who came home on furlough,aand had smuggled
a hand grenade from his base. He visited with his family a few minutes,then
told them to come with him into the back yard to see a wonderful sight. He
removed the pin,gave the grenade a migjhty heave,and hit the old toilet dead
center. His Mother said,Son,you should not have done that. Your GrandPa was
in there. Now in a few minutes,the boards began to rattle and move and GrandPa
crawled out pulling his suspenders and laughing. He said,"It's a good thing
that I didn't let that one go in THE HOUSE.
I have put your site on my list of favorites,so keep up the good work. Will
visit often,and tell all my E-Mail buddies about your site.
Thanks, M. Gordey
- I really liked browsing. I'm only 10 and I never used an outhouse,
but I think its funny.
- I enjoyed my visit to your site. I sometimes use the outhouses which
are still standard behind Michigan's rural township halls. I used one last
Summer on a bicycle ride. It is located behind a town hall south of Alma,
Years ago, when I was in Montana, I acquired a book about outhouses. It is
called "Muddled Meanderings in an Outhouse, Number 2". It has some cute pictures
of Western outhouses, some of which are real wrecks. Below each outhouse picture
is a poem about the outhouse. The book was written by Bob Ross and published
in Bozeman, MT. If you don't have it, keep an eye out for it. It's worth reading.
Thanks again for the tour.
- Interesting URL. The name "Outhouses of America" turned out to be somewhat
misleading. To most people, the name "outhouse" usually refers to an outside
toilet. However, it did turn out to be interesting, nonetheless.
- I haven't taken the tour yet, but I intend to. The reason for my e-mail
is message is simple. I am the director of the Reno County Museum in Hutchinson,
Kansas. We are doing a small exhibit on outhouses in Kansas and I am amazed
at the way people have responded. Some laugh, but for the most part, people
seem to really like the idea. I just typed outhouses into my web search on
a lark and stumbled on to this site.
Any pointers, tips, reference materials, etc. you might bring to my attention
would be greatly appreciated.
- [Regarding the church outhouse that had 5 holes and the church seats
accross from them...] ]Had a though... wondered if the outhouse was for children...
and the mommy's sat across from them... :) Just a thought
- Hi, I was looking at your page and I was pretty surprised that you didn't
mention the two-story outhouse in Gays Illinois. If you would like more information,
e-mail me, if not, then don't worry about it... I won't be hurt! :) Thank
you for your time, K. Ross [Many people have mentioned this and I have two
newspaper articles about it which will eventually end up on the tour.]
- I was surfing around and found your site! What a cool site.... I did
notice that you did a trip in the UP of Michigan... Are you from Michigan?
I live in a little town near Traverse City called Lake Ann... I will get my
digital camera out and take some pictures of our local outhouses for you and
send them along...
Thanks for providing a little humor and info that is worth reading!!!
- The metal roofing on the Million Dollar Outhouse would probably date
it to the later 1930's or early 1940's I think. My father installed a new
roof on the barn in the early 1940's and used that type of material. My first
15 years were on a farm in S. Dak. and we had an outhouse. I'll have to admit
though, in the winter I didn't use it much as the barn, with all the livestock
was much warmer.
Enjoyed your site though, it brought back some memories. K. Pank
- Thank you !!! This Earth Closet is something entirely new to my experience,
but WOW! What a FABULOUS IDEA! I am Soooooo glad this site is here!
I LOVE to garden, and I live on the edge of a largish city, so it isn't always
easy for me to get manure for my gardens, and now, in one fell swoop (poop?
lol) you have answered a great many of my problems! Not to mention saving
me TONS of municipality costs! I have two boys, and they tend to use WAY too
much TP,and flush WAY too many times, wasting a great deal of water (which
I have to PAY FOR),so this is GRAND news!
Also, this MAY come in handy in leaflet form, IF the Y2K issue threatens water
shortages...it COULD alleviate major sanitation problems in bigger ares,tho
maybe not as much in REALLY big cities? thanks again.
- Several years ago while working in a museum, a lady told me partial
truth of the "outhouses". The moon was meant for the lady's monthly cycle
and could not recall what for the stars stood.
Is there anyone out there who would know the real answer as I work with the
public and in an archives and love dearly to pass on little things like this!!
Also, I would explain further that if a gentleman did not see where he was
going and walked into where the lady was, he would not hear the end of it
through the town gossip nor from his wife!! These two signs also were a universal
sign as there were millions of non-speaking English people moving into the
U.S. ever since Columbus' Days.
I enjoyed sections of the bit of history on what people used to call the outhouses
and the various descriptive pictures of them.
Thank you very much. Sincerely, S. Twiss-Griggs
- I go to Michigan several times a year--will have to give those U.P.
outhouses a second look!!! My aunt has two on her property in the U.P.and
stores her grandkids' bikes there....
- I'm looking for outhouse items that I can use in a bathroom, like a
soap dish, toothbrush holder anything along that line. Wallpaper and or border
also. If you know of any sources please let me know. I like your sight. Thank