Depression Era: Solar Shower House From Washing Machine Tub

Missouri woman recalls her family building a solar shower house out of a discarded washing machine tub.

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During the depression era, we built a shower house in the back yard without a roof, using railroad ties for posts and siding from the old house that had been torn down. A curtain stretched across the front, made from discarded drapery. A frame at the top held an old discarded washing machine tub with a shower head attached to the drain hose. A ladder leaned against the side of the building was used to climb on for filling the tub with water a bucket at a time. The water was pumped from a deep well with a hand pump, the tub of water was heated by the sun if it was a clear day, if not, in an iron kettle with a fire built under it.

Marie Rea
Russellville, Missouri


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.