Outhouses

The loo, Johnny on the spot, the crapper and the privyno matter what you call them outhouses were once a necessary convenience and are now gaining ground once again as kitschy backyard decor.

Outhouses or outdoor toilets were simple wooden shacks erected over a hole in the ground. Today, the modern outhouse can be built from brick, concrete or wood and can even be ordered online in plastic or nylon models.

In the early days, man didn't have the convenience of running water or flushing toilets. In order to have privacy and comfort when relieving one's self, a hole was dug in the ground, lined with stone, brick or wood and a rustic wooden structure was built on top. Human waste was disposed of thanks to the laws of gravity and once the outhouse hole was full it was shifted to a new location. The only means to subdue odor was by throwing a cupful of ashes or lime down the hole.

Privately owned outhouses, of the early 19th century, might have been one-holers or two-holers - meaning they had an occupation of one or two family members. Two-holers were also necessary if you had small children, so they didn't accidentally "disappear" down the hole. Outhouses erected behind schoolhouses, churches and hotels might have offered as many as a dozen holes - without dividers.

The following pages on outhouses include pertinent information on outhouse maintenance, tips for building your own outhouse, outhouse dcor ideas and the different types of outhouses available via internet. And because we're talking outhouses, we thought we'd add a little bit of potty humor with our outhouse trivia page.

Outhouses are a fantastic way to relive the past - while knowing you have the modern convenience of running water inside. One thing's for sure - flushing toilets are a godsend!

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