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Old 05/30/11, 09:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: A woods in Wisconsin
Posts: 9,283
Indoor plumbing vs outhouse...what age?

We had an outdoor 2 seater until I was 5 ---- about 1950...... then Ma and Pa went modern and installed indoor plumbing ----

So ---- when did your family make the switch?

(I suspect the majority of you never knew the joys of the 'index pages' of the Sears catalog.
The index pages were much softer than most of the other pages!)
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Old 05/30/11, 09:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 588
I think I'm technically about third-generation indoor plumbing, but when we bought our farm and moved here 27 years ago today, there was a hole in the floor of the bathroom where the broken toilet had been removed and never replaced, and an outhouse in the back yard. That would have been 1984. Of course we fixed that within the very first day! Don't think we got rid of the outhouses that the fruit pickers used down in our berry fields until about 1995.
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Old 05/30/11, 09:40 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,685
My stepfather put in indoor plumbing when he lost his job with a shower house. That was well after I left home. I think maybe 1988. I remember going and helping him with some stuff in the bathroom while my mom was in CA waiting on my niece to be born.

The day I got married in 1983 I washed my hair and took my bath after one last trip to the outhouse. I then went out and refilled the water buckets and tea kettles. I picked up my wedding dress and other necessaries. Put on my boots and waded mud down the quarter mile lane to where the car was parked and left home.

I tell my husband I married him for running water!
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Old 05/30/11, 09:54 PM
r93000's Avatar  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Rural Colorado
Posts: 286
The house we lived in when I was ages 4-12 (1984-1993) was built in 1868. It had a beautiful, functional, 2 hole outdoor up until the day we moved from there. The new people tore it down and filled it in after a year or so.

The house did have indoor plumbing added in 1978, but it was not reliable since it was added onto the mudroom off the back of the house by someone who didn't seem to understand that it might be a good idea to have the pipe move with gravity- uphill not so much. My parents turned an under stairway closet into a more functional bathroom in 1985 or so. They also added an automatic kitchen sink- you know, the kind you don't have to prime.

We regularly used the outside bathroom in the spring, summer, and fall though. One working bathroom and 7 in the house Ours had two windows with blue gingham checkered curtains, real seats, a wash pitcher/bowl, and lovely yellow paint with white trim It was twice the size of the one in the house too!

I should add that the home was continuously lived in too. We were the first people to buy it, not inherit it. The original man built it for his wife when he came home from the Civil War, and their oldest boy inherited the house. His oldest boy inherited, and then had one daughter who inherited as a spinster. She passed at the age of 94 and my parents bought the property at the estate sale, along with some of the original furnishings!

When I was 19 I bought a little house on a lot in Louisburg, MO at auction for $3500. This was in Spring 2000, and the house did not have an indoor bathroom. An elderly couple lived there up until a month or so before the auction. It had a single hole out back.
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Old 05/30/11, 10:05 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: south central Kentucky(finally out of all the snow)
Posts: 4,991
We had plumbing when I was growing up, but several extended family didn't. My great aunt and uncle never did get a br in their house although they did have water to the kitchen sink. They passed about 10 years ago.

When my hubby's kid's(from 1st marriage) came in for his funeral, we had the after dinner at the little country church that had both indoor and out facilities. You should have seen the look on his dd's face when she asked where the br was and I pointed to the outdoor privy. I let her be horrified for a few moments before directing her to the modern throne.

I have 2 kids now that have me seriously considering putting in an outhouse and foregoing the indoor. The toilet gets plugged at least once a week.

Never did understand the 2 seater....
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Old 05/30/11, 10:20 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NC
Posts: 1,811
We always had indoor plumbing in the houses I've lived in, but I remember using the Johnny House at my grandmother's. It was near the strip house (for stripping tobacco--get your head out of the gutter!), and was a convenient place to "go" when we were working in tobacco. I inherited my grandmother's house, and it only has that one bathroom downstairs--tucked in a nook behind the stairs--the most convenient place to add it--probably in the 1960's. When staying there now, I sleep in an upstairs bedroom and use a chamber pot. Can't imagine adding an upstairs bathroom just for THAT!
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Old 05/30/11, 10:30 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 440
We moved to a one-room cabin in 1976 and used "Mrs. Murphy" and hauled all our water the year we lived there. That was a real education!
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Old 05/30/11, 10:36 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,270
We moved to a house with an indoor toilet when I was about 4 in 1968.

The difference was we lived not in a farmhouse, but in the city. The houses were row houses called 2 up 2 downs, 2 rooms downstairs and 2 rooms upstairs. They were built for mill workers in the 19th century.

So we didn't get an inside loo until we moved OUT of the city

We had water plumbed to a sink in the house, but we went to Gran's house for baths.
I saw something nasty in the woodshed

Last edited by Tiempo; 05/31/11 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 05/30/11, 10:37 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 19,562
My great-grandparents who we visited often had a privy until the mid 70's. At our cabin in Pennsylvania we had a privy and no running water. Sold it in the early 90's, outhouse intact. If we had more land (5 acres or more) I would want an outhouse somewhere for times when the electric is out or I don't want to walk to the house.
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Old 05/30/11, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ky
Posts: 1,747
My dad always was modern minded, we were the first ones in our whole town to have a flush toilet and the neighbours came to take a look at it, and the bathtub of course. I remember the outhouse well, and the saturday night baths in front of the kitchen stove in a galvanized tub.
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Old 05/30/11, 10:50 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wisconsin by the UP, eh!
Posts: 3,008
DHs parents put in a bathroom in 1965 - he was seven, and the youngest of 5. His older brothers would shower at school. When he was 12, they switched from an old wood furnace (octopus style) to a propane furnace, after a near deadly encounter with carbon monoxide.
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Old 05/30/11, 11:23 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: OK
Posts: 10,618
I pulled down, re-dug and rebuilt the outhouse in Colorado that is used as backup my ours and my "Grandmother's*" cabin about 15 years ago. It's still used when the others are busy or if it's too cold for the water systems to be hooked up.

I have a friend in New Mexico who runs a heritage fruit tree farm. In addition to their fancy indoor composting toilet, they have outhouses for guests.

*Grandmother is gone, now, but that's how we refer to the cabin.

Less barking! More wagging!
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Old 05/30/11, 11:27 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Idaho
Posts: 3,021
Mrs Whodunit here,

2004 is the year the outhouse went into retirement where I was born and raised.
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Old 05/30/11, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: A woods in Wisconsin
Posts: 9,283
Originally Posted by Terri in WV View Post
Never did understand the 2 seater....
The 2-seater that my folks had------
not meant for 2 people at a time ---
but ------
more for the difference in size.

I was 5 ----- smaller hole.
Folks used the adult size.
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Old 05/31/11, 12:13 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: MS
Posts: 24,572
I can actually remember being potty trained when I was two. I have a very strong memory of the outhouse back behind the house we lived in (have strong memories of that house and the next one too). The houses we lived in from age three on had indoor plumbing, but when my parents bought the farm I grew up on there was an outhouse (the house did have plumbing). We used the outhouse as well as the bathroom. If the bathroom were occupied, or we were outside playing and didn't want to venture into the house for fear our mom would put us to work, we used the outhouse.

I had a great aunt and uncle who did not have indoor plumbing. Uncle Leonard died in 1975 when I was 15 and a few years later the family enclosed half of the back porch and put in a bathroom for Aunt Pearl when her health declined. I remember using their outhouse and also remember the bucket of cool drinking water and the gourd dipper hanging next to it on the back porch.
I'm running so far behind I thought I was first!

Last edited by Ravenlost; 05/31/11 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 05/31/11, 12:30 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,685
Originally Posted by Ravenlost View Post
and also remember the bucket of cool drinking water and the gourd dipper hanging next to it on the back porch.
My kids could remember their grandmothers house having the dipper hanging over the sink. It was the same one we always used in the water bucket. People today would die at drinking water out of the same dipper as everyone esle and then putting it back in the bucket!
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Old 05/31/11, 12:45 AM
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Naturally Twirly
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: far north Idaho
Posts: 14,408
Indoor plumbing till I was 37. The we moved here and used an outhouse for almost 2 years. Back to indoor plumbing when I was 39. Though we still use the outhouse during occasional plumbing emergencies.
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Old 05/31/11, 01:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: KY
Posts: 12,678
Originally Posted by Terri in WV View Post

I have 2 kids now that have me seriously considering putting in an outhouse and foregoing the indoor. The toilet gets plugged at least once a week.
We're on a septic tank here and because it's a high water table the tank is sitting almost level with the house and there wasn't a good suction for the flush, so we had issues just like you with the toilet getting stopped up. So, home remodeling last year and the bathroom was the first problem to conquer, and specifically the commode. DH went to Lowes and after much studying he bought a golf ball flusher commode. It really does flush golf balls and doesn't ever stop up. You'll wonder why you didn't have it installed sooner.
There are endless combinations of truth.
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Old 05/31/11, 01:14 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: south central Kentucky(finally out of all the snow)
Posts: 4,991
Soulsurvivor-I haven't run across a toilet yet that they can't stop up. I've been looking at ones that have bigger drains but there are so many to choose from it can make a persons head spin. That and you have to special order them.
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Old 05/31/11, 01:31 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone 9b
Posts: 4,898
How many of us are heading in the othet direction: trying to simplify things or buying land where we'll be off grid?
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