Thankfully A Thing Of The Past...

Outhouses... - Outhouses...
@twoey68 (13651)
United States
May 11, 2008 2:24pm CST
Before indoor plumbing came to be, most homes had a little shack out in back of the house. A little wooden building, usually barely big enough to get into, with a bench type seat and big hole in it. When you had to go to the bathroom, that’s where you headed. It wasn’t easy going in there either. First of all these buildings, called outhouses, were smelly. You didn’t flush anything. You just went in, did your business, put the lid down and left. In the summertime the stench was even worse. Under the outhouse a hole was dug and that’s where all the waste went…when it was full, they’d move the outhouse and dig a new hole…filling in the old one. Another hazard was that they often got bugs, spiders and snakes…oh, and bees and hornets. It wasn’t pleasant by any means. When I lived at my Dad’s in the late 70’s one of our relatives still had a working outhouse (they refused to put in indoor plumbing). I hated going to their house b/c if you had to go you had to go to the outhouse. I was always terrified of falling in. Have you ever had to use an outhouse? Would you use one today if you knew someone with a working one? Have you ever fallen in? **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
14 people like this
35 responses
@Hatley (164654)
• Garden Grove, California
11 May 08
twoey68 oh yes indeed I had the unpleasant use of the outdoor outhouse until I was about elven then we had indoor plumbing and a bathroom built so I remember well all the funlol of going into the smelly bathroom and using sheets from a sears roebuck cataloge to clean myself, andhow much fun it was not to go on a cold winter's day when it was twenty below and snowing. cannot say that I miss it either.No I would always opt for the indoor bathroom.lol.
3 people like this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
11 May 08
I haven't had to use on of those since I was a child and went to summer camp in 1964. I hated it and I would never use it again. Those portopotties that they have at festivals and construction sites are not much better and even the bathroom in a bus, they all stink no matter how much deodorant that you put in the stall.
3 people like this
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
11 May 08
My granddad had an outhouse for many years, in fact they had no running water at all, and used a hand-pumped well. I spent a summer with them and did use an outhouse... the spiders were not a big deal, and the only thing with stingers were paper wasps that never bothered anyone.... and there were no snakes. That is a very interesting outhouse in your picture though, and looks to be just right for the job....
2 people like this
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
11 May 08
Outhouse... - Outhouse...
Here is the correct outhouse picture. If you weren't talking to me about bodyguards, I wouldn't have messed up. Although come to think of it, some bodyguards probably are full of sh*t LOL **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
1 person likes this
• United States
11 May 08
True enough... but I think you know one who isn't....
1 person likes this
@blackbriar (9080)
• United States
13 May 08
Yeah, I remember those outhouse days. When my bro bought his 80 acres in northern Wisconsin 20 yrs. ago, there was just s amall trailer sitting on it with an overflowing outhouse out back being there was no septic tank. Soon after buying it, my dad created and built an outhouse on his patio, sorta like a modular outhouse. When it was finished, he was able to take it apart in whole pieces...walls, roof, floor, door, and the toliet bench with the seat attached. I then went up to the property with him for a week and helped him dig a new hole for the new outhouse. After that was done, my dad made a level base for it then nailed the floor to it. I then helped him put the walls up, roof, the bench, and finally the door. My dad even ran electricity out to it for light. We then painted it. It was made entirely out of treated lumber and would you believe it's still standing and working to this day even thou my bro has since put in a double wide with a basement and septic. He plans on moving up there with my sis-in-law once she is healed from the accident she was in a year ago. My brother refuses to tear down the outhouse being my dad built it with his own 2 hands and he has since passed on 10yrs. ago the 20th of this month. My brother said it's a sturdy as the day it was built and the hole has yet to fill up. lol Funny thing is, it never stunk real bad. Not like some I've been in where you had to hold your breath or you would throw up. Wish I had a scanner cause I have several pics of it but not on the computer.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 May 08
Forgot to add...there were never any snakes or bugs in it either. A spider on occassion but that's it. Think it has to do with the contraption he put up under the bench that held moth balls. Once a year he would refill it with a box of moth balls. Could be the same reason why it never smelled bad, ya think? lol
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
15 May 08
I used a lot of outhouses, one when I went to a concert in Vermont and one at a friend's house. Both had regular toilet seats surrounding the hole so no chance of falling in. What got me at the concert were the bugs. You hated to go to the bathroom because of the bugs. Never knew where those buggers were going to go. My friend had a no-pest strip in his outhouse and a sign. "After you go to the bathroom, remove the toilet seat, throw three shovels of peat moss down. and replace the seat." That kept the smell down somewhat and the number of bugs. The shovel and the peat moss were inside the outhouse and his outhouse isn't small. He still has his outhouse. If a person cuts a smaller hole, falling in shouldn't be a problem. If a no pest strip is inside the flies should die on it. If a person covers what they've done with moss or dirt after each time they go, then the smell should be less. Where I canoe, they have a solar outhouse. When the sun is out, it doesn't smell too bad. Take care
• United States
15 May 08
I remember going to the family reunions and there were no bathrooms, only an outhouse. I hated using that thing. It stunk so bad it was unreal. I am so thankful for indoor plumbing. The kids today don't know how good they have it.
1 person likes this
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
13 May 08
I can remember my grandfolks having a two holer or so they called it - I guess that is so you wouldn't grow lonely on those cold winter nights out there by yourself???? down in oklahoma you will see them still with two galvanized buckets filled with corn cobs - one with red and one with white... lol. The only ones I have used growing up were the ones at the camp grounds. we camped in a lot of national parks and those were the amenities that were offered... rustic wooden outhouses. P*U*
1 person likes this
@moneyandgc (3430)
• United States
13 May 08
I have never used an outhouse. My husbands family own a cabin in the mountains of New Mexico. Before they added a bathroom on to it they all used this wooden outhouse. The water is turned off at the cabin because nobody uses it on a regular basis. We brought jugs of water to fill the toilet. I saw the outhouse and I would have held it the whole weekend before I went in there! No thanks.
1 person likes this
@leeesa (885)
• United States
13 May 08
I had a great-aunt that I would visit in the 70's and they also did not have indoor plumbing. They had a bathroom, but all it had was a sink and a bathtub. I also hated the outhouse and was afaid of falling in! I never asked why they still had the outhouse though. My family had a large piece of land up north in the woods. We would go camping nearly every weekend. We had no electricity, running water or plumbing. So yep, outhouses. I used to call it our hippy commune because on the land were 6 little "lots" so to speak, each with a camper, fire pit, etc. There were 3 outhouses that we shared. It was a lot of fun despite the outdoor potty! That was one time I could overlook it, although I was afraid to use it at night for fear of bears!
1 person likes this
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
13 May 08
My husband first took me to KY to meet some of his family, he tried to get me to stay at his cousins house, and it was that way. I was 7 months pregnant, I told him that he was taking me somewhere with a bathroom because there was absolutely no way that I was going wading through the woods in the middle of the night. I will take my indoor bathroom anytime over that.
1 person likes this
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
13 May 08
We had one when we lived in Louisana,i was a kid but i still remember..It was just as you described,and i really do not remember a lot of toilet tissue,it was papers like rough stuff to use as tissue..At night when it was dark,we had what you call a slop jar,and we used that at night,it was a round white granite bucket with a lid...Before i got very old we came to Texas and then we had a bathroom..I was always scared to go to that outside toilet,i was afraid of snakes,bugs and all kinds of varments....We had an outside shower with only cold water...If we took a bath onside the house it was in a round wash tub,with water heated on an old black stove that pipes run up through the ceiling and we cooked on that stove and it was heated by wood...I am happy we came to Texas before i got very old...
• United States
12 May 08
Yes, I've used one as a child. It was pure torture in the winter. If I had known about snakes etc. I probably would have gone behind a tree. I don't remember falling in but I do remember that the hole was large.
1 person likes this
@Rosekitty (19441)
• San Marcos, Texas
11 May 08
Twoey..outhouses aren't actually a thing of the past..i know people who still have them and any festival we go to they are everywhere. My grandparents had one and so did other relatives in the 1950's..being a kid it wasn't a big deal..but yes it could get scary if you thought you might fall in..LOL
1 person likes this
• United States
11 May 08
I honestly think there digusting I've had to use one at a campsite a bunch of us went to. Every time I had to go in there I would hold my breath. I would hurry up and get out of there for the smell of it turned my stomach. I am glad we have plumbing and don't have to use out houses I don't know how the people back in those days did it maybe they got used to it. If I was some where and all there was was an outhouse I guess I'd have no choice but to use it.
1 person likes this
@golfproo (1841)
• Canada
11 May 08
Hi There! Well, I certainly have never fallen into an outhouse, but I am not too keen on using them anymore either. In fact, many years ago one of my many jobs was to pump out the outhouses. You don't want to know some of the things I saw!!! Now I just stay away unless it is a real emergency! cheers,
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15226)
• United States
11 May 08
We didn't have indoor plumbing until I was 7 or 8 years old. In fact, one of the neatest things about going to school was that the schoolhouse was modern and had electric lights and flush toilets inside. Ours did not have a lid, and my parents used lime to keep it somewhat fresh, and moved it frequently, so there really wasn't as much of an odor problem as one might expect. When reading your discussion, I was holding my breath to see what you would say about the spiders. That was a bigger terror than falling in, although when quite small I remember having that concern, too. Mostly the spiders, though. It was hard having to put boots on and and overcoat to go out in the middle of the dark night. I would always be admonished of two things: Don't drop the flashlight into it, and don't wear out the batteries. They knew I was going over every inch of that seat and underneath it too with that flashlight because of the spiders. I have never heard of anyone actually falling in, and yes they still have them in some of the recreational areas we have visited. Some of them are gross. It sort of depends on whether they are properly maintained or not.
1 person likes this
@teison2 (5924)
• Norway
11 May 08
Yes, I have used an outhouse many many times. here lots of people have them at their cabins. We do not have an outhouse at our cabin, but there is no pumbing there so we have a cabin-toilet that neesd to be emptied. I do not love it, but I am able to use them. Not that long ago there were still some outhouses in our capital even. I am glad those days are over. Close by our farm there is a small lake that is often used for parties etc. There is still only an outhouse there. It is not so smelly though, and there are no snakes there. I prefere to wait and use our bathroom when I get back home
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99159)
• United States
11 May 08
Porta potties at events and construction sites are not much better. Most of my growing up years my grandparents had outhouses. I do not remember them ever moving them. For awhile they kept a bucket of Lime a mineral to sprinkle in the hole after you went. They even had a two seater. We kept the old Sears catalogue for looking at and for emergencies. Some of the recreation areas around here still have "pit toilets". I still use them when I must.
@cream97 (29169)
• United States
31 May 11
Oh, no. I have never had to use an outhouse before. I don't think that I would want to use one either. I am afraid of using an outing. Just the thought of me falling down into an outing makes me nervous and terrified. I don't know anyone that has an outing at their house either. I think that I would just rather use the bathroom on the ground if that is the case.
@vivasuzi (4125)
• United States
26 Nov 08
Other than a port-a-potty, I've never used anything like this. That sounds so gross, although I know it's how they had to do it way back when. I know for sure that I would make someone else being charge of cleaning it and moving it. I can imagine many people got sick a lot back then with these types of conditions.