How Seasons Affected Outhouses

The traditional outhouse was usually at the end of a well-worn path leading to a hidden spot in the grove.

Hollyhocks or a climbing vine secluded the little facility. If it was an elite outhouse the walls might be covered with left-over wallpaper.

Occasionally a mail order catalog was laid between the seats – for reading, of course.

One of the assets was that it provided a hideaway for the kids when dishes were to be done.

The outhouses provided refuge for spiders, bees, crickets, or an occasional lizard.

Winter time provided a far different story. Snow blew in through the cracks around the door and windows, so a quick brush off was necessary before taking a seat.

The floor and seats got a real good scrubbing every week. When the hot, soapy water from the wringer washing machine was drained, it was carried to use for scrubbing.

Ah – those were the days! If one wanted solitude, that was the place to find it.

Madonna Storla
Postville, Iowa

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.