Cappers Farmer

How Outhouses Have Changed Over Time

Outhouses? What lady discusses outhouses? Oh well, my first experience, other than the novelty of visiting, was our move to a country home where the big white house had an accompanying little white house with its graduated holes, the smallest one about 14″ from the well-scrubbed wood floor. The flat stone walk to it led behind shrubs and bushes.

Although the door, with its cut out slim moon, was not facing any regular traffic, it was still concealed behind a five foot fence. The interior was cozy, the walls sealed and papered with leftover house paper. It had two small, shuttered windows, the lime bucket and dipper in the corner, and the catalogue hung on the wall. Of course each accommodation had its own hinged lid, which should be closed before leaving; also pull the door “almost closed.” Each week the seats and floor were scrubbed with rinse water from the clothes washing

Later, to modernize, the beloved little w.h. was replaced with the cement version made by the W.P.A. Now there was roll tissue. No more interesting reading!

After many years of modern bathrooms, I had an interesting experience at a “Johnny On The Spot.” The “Privey” areas were well-marked to a secluded area behind a board fence. As I was starting to enter, some men were leaving. When I asked for the women’s area they just pointed to where they had come! At 75, I was ready for a new experience, I guess. From outhouse to outhouse in one exciting lifetime. Modern, no catalogue.

Kathryn Jackson
Eureka, Kansas

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.

  • Published on Jul 10, 2012
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