While outhouses are one of the humbler elements of our sanitation systems, they have received a surprising amount of design attention and even public affection. They were actually a considerable advance over many older disposal methods in the United States (open trenches, cesspits), and the U.S. government actively encouraged their use in rural areas in the 1930s and 40s.

Outhouses remaining from older times are the subject of photography books and posters, while new outhouses are constructed for parades and competitions. The outhouse seems to have an enduring place in the public imagination.

Ess E. Tee, “Management of Out-Houses,” The Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 22, Issue 7 (July 1890), p. 164.

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Sputnik I was first sighted from this outhouse in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“Outhouse Was Site of Historic Sighting,” The Associated Press, published November 4, 2002.

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Jamie Benidickson, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, “Ontario Water Quality, Public Health, and the Law, 1880-1930.”  From G. Blaine Baker and Jim Phillips, editors, Essays in the History of Canadian Law in Honour of R.C.B. Risk (Osgoode Society for Legal History, 1999). Used with permission.

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1928 U.S. Department of Agriculture – Farmers’ bulletin No.1227 entitled “Sewage and Sewerage of Farm Homes”. The bulletin describes ways for construction and operating home (“private”) sewerage facilities – one that will help protect and better the health and welfare if its users. Source: Jon Schladweiler

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A document entitled “Regulations for sewer Inspectors and Other Persons Engaged in Sewerage Work”.  This was published/released by the City of Philadelphia  on Mar 5, 1908.Source:  A website dedicated to the preservation of water and sewer history in the Philadelphia PA area …. www.phillyh2o.org.

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A partial listing of the various names that “outhouse” as known as in different parts of the world.

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