A Well-Constructed Outhouse

A father carefully constructs a sturdy family outhouse.

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I have many memories of our outhouse in northern Minnesota. Unlike many outhouses in our small town, ours was very well built. I know because my father built it and I watched him. After digging the pit, he dug four holes for the corner posts, long cedar logs around which he poured cement. Father was a mason and liked to pour concrete, which he hand-mixed in a large homemade trough. 

Father was also a pretty good carpenter. After the cement was set he built the outhouse using sturdy lumber and anchoring it firmly to the corner posts. Our outhouse was solid, might as well have been made of brick. Of course, Father had good reason for building it as he did.

In those days outhouses were fair game for Halloween pranksters who delighted in tipping them over. Those poorly built or anchored were often overturned, the work of some gang of husky youngsters.

Most of the kids in our neighborhood had watched my father build our outhouse. The word was spread far and wide, and nobody ever attempted a tip over.

A.F. Rausell
Rio Rancho, New Mexico


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.