Hutchinson in Reno County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Outhouses, sometimes referred to as "backhouses" or "privies", were once a common sight across America. Made from a variety of materials and from various designs, outhouses functioned as restrooms for those who did not have indoor plumbing. Usually these structures were built at some distance from the main house or building they served. Often a source of pranks and practical jokes, the outhouse was also the subject of humorist Chic Sale's book, The Specialist, and a poem by James Whitcomb Riley.
Outhouses played a role in the nation's economic recovery during the Great Depression. In 1935, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) authorized a program whereby outhouses would be constructed through a partnership with county health departments. WPA workers often traveled to a house or farm, poured a concrete foundation, then built the structure above. This program coincided with a national movement to educate the public about the spread of infectious diseases such as typhoid fever and dysentery, while eliminating unsanitary privies. WPA outhouses were designed to allow for more ventilation in the structure, with a closable lid above the hole and concrete pits that could be drained so that waste would not contaminate nearby ground water. In all, the WPA was responsible for constructing more than 2 million outhouses across the
This WPA outhouse was built for the Herren family in Salt Creek Township sometime after 1935. It later was moved to the Community Building located in the former Central School. It was donated to the museum by Miles Hartman and family in 1999.
Erected by Reno County Museum.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects marker series.
Location. 38° 3.019′ N, 97° 55.75′ W. Marker is in Hutchinson, Kansas, in Reno County. Touch for map. Marker is next to the outhouse, on the grounds of the Reno County Museum, 100 South Walnut Street (at A Avenue). Marker is in this post office area: Hutchinson KS 67501, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Windmills (a few steps from this marker); Siegrist Claim House, 1876 (a few steps from this marker); Warren G. Harding (within shouting distance of this marker); Hutchinson Auto and Tractor School (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hutchinson Implement Co. (about 700 feet away); American Hotel (about 700 feet away); O'Brian's Grocery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Magers Agricultural Implements (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hutchinson.
Related markers. list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Reno County Museum. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Ode to the Commode. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Outhouse Facts and Trivia. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. The Official Outhouses of America Tour. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Education • Man-Made Features • Science & Medicine • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,968 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.