Outhouses

Probably no farm structure has received more scrutiny than the proverbial outhouse.  With its crescent moon, it has appeared in countless attempts at hilarity.  In fact, it was a most serious building, and evidence of permanence and success.

When we moved to the new farm in 1930, there was no outhouse at the premises.  In fact, this was true of most of the farms in the area.  As I remember our nearest farm neighbors in the mid thirties, the outhouse was a rarity.  The presence of an outhouse was a definite sign of permanence and some success.  Tenant farmers usually had no sense of continuity.  Most moved for one reason or another every year or so.  They saw no need to construct the landlord an outhouse.

On the other hand, the landlord saw no need to build the outhouse, since the tenant would move soon any way.  When one was built, it indicated that the occupant was going to be there for a prolonged period.  It also indicated that he had at least a small surplus since building required lumber, nails, and labor.

The situation at our farm followed the pattern.  While we were definitely there on a permanent basis, there were more pressing needs, and no surplus of time and materials.  Not until 1940, after some success, was a creditable two-holer was built.

An outhouse was not much use in the middle of the night in winter, or in rainy weather.  This made the chamber pot a most useful possession, and reduced the priority of constructing an outhouse.

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