Personal Space 

Ye olde-time crappers

click to enlarge SUNNIE SACKS

If you've ever wondered what happened to the outhouses of yore, head on up to Guffey.

It's a small town, population 1,200, so you shouldn't have trouble finding the former city hall, now the City Hall Museum, which is owned by Bill and Colleen Soux.

Ask Bill Soux, a self-described "Guffey garage guy," why he owns 16 outhouses and he'll tell you they make great tool sheds. He says this with an almost conspiratorial hush, as though he fears such news might trigger a crapper craze among Front Range antiquers.

While Soux has devoted one outhouse apiece to nails and screws; insulation; tarpaper; and gas storage, he's also restored a few to working glory.

The one currently occupying city hall, "a double holer" as he calls it, is open for business and has been restored with horseshoe toilet seat hinges, and a horseshoe toilet paper holder.

According to Soux, outhouses don't exude the dreaded stank of the port-o-john. "When you go to a place to sit down and be comfortable you want to be halfway clean and comfortable," he explains.

Two of his outhouses date back to the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, which cranked out over 2 million "WPA Sanitary Privies" in an effort to standardize national sanitation.

Loveland, Colo.'s Kenneth Jessen, author of Out the Back, Down The Path, a history of Colorado's outhouses, says Soux is one of only a few people in the state still restoring outhouses and that his collection boasts beautiful seat hinges. "They go beyond just being outhouses," Jessen says, "They're more of an art form."

-- John Dicker

photo by Sunnie Sacks


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