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10 Things you probably didn’t know about outhouses

The mere thought of an outhouse can be enough to turn anyone’s stomach. Cottagers who have or continue to use them know it’s hard to shake that unforgettable stench. But while most cottagers shudder at the thought of them. Others find them fascinating, so much that outhouses are studied, restored, raced and yes people even steal them. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about outhouses.

  1. Did you know there is a meaning behind the moon and stars? The moon and star cut outs are commonly found on the doors dating back to colonial times when literacy levels were low. They were for letting light in but they were also symbols for male and female. The crescent moon symbolized a female and the star a male.  However if a family had a single outhouse, it most likely had a moon on it.
  2. Outhouses in the past often had more than one store. Believe it or not high rise outhouses actually existed. On the upper floor, you would go back in a little bit further than the outhouse below. Waste from above would fall down a shaft behind the first floor loo’s wall.
  3. There are some outhouses that have 2 seats. One for adults and one for kids.
  4. American town Elk Falls calls itself the outhouse capital of Kansas.
  5. There is an outhouse museum in Nova Scotia.
  6. Outhouse racing has become a popular sport in small towns like Trenary, Michigan.
  7. Canada had multiple outhouses stolen in 2013.
  8. In the 1700s and 1800s the outhouse was also a garbage disposal.
  9. Toilet paper was a luxury. The farmers would use Sears catalogues instead.
  10. Outhouses on mountaintops can be hazardous!

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