You'd think it would be hard to find even one town eager to dip its hand into this swirling melee of civic posturing. Okay... so who has the World's Only Two-story Outhouse, anyway?
It's a futile battle between Dover, Arkansas; Bell Plaine, Minnesota; and Gays, Illinois; and Phelps, New York...and other towns. Let's take a look.
World's Only Double-decker Outhouse
The Booger Hollow Trading Post, along Scenic 7 Byway, in Dover, Arkansas, proudly makes this claim. They effortlessly win the category of best photo opportunity. This mock-ramshackle hillbilly dumper is covered with misspelled joke signs. It is an operational lavatory, but both "Maw" and "Paw" stations are on the ground floor. One sign warns "Upstairs closed 'til we figur out plummin'."
So it's technically not a 2-story outhouse, just a prop for a big souvenir store. Good postcards, though. Snack on a tasty Boogerburger, and move on.
(February 2008: The Double-Decker Outhouse still stands, but the Booger Hollow Trading Post is an abandoned ghost town.)
America's Only 2-story Outhouse
That's the claim made by Gays, Illinois, in Moultrie County. It was built in the 1880s for two second-story apartments above the S.F. Gammill general store. While the store has since been torn down, historical enthusiast Pat Goodwin restored the outhouse. Though it is kept locked, passersby can see it along Illinois Highway 16 between Shelbyville and Mattoon.
The outhouse is cleverly designed with offset walls to permit emissions from above safe (but perhaps not-so-silent) silent bypassage of the ground floor seating.
Locals refer to it as the "skys-crapper."
Home of the 2-story Outhouse
It's at the historic Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom house in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. "Samuel Bowler had a large number of children so he added on to the outhouse structure," reports Jill Bowers. Bowler was her great-great-great uncle. "Not only does the house boast a 'five-holer' but also a skyway connecting the upstairs of the outhouse to the house proper."
Like the model in Gays, "The upstairs facilities are situated a little further back so that the 'materials' released from the second floor fall behind the wall of the first floor."
Tours are conducted of the historic house, so visitors can take a peek inside. And most importantly, this outhouse has souvenirs! "I personally have a T-shirt and commemorative teaspoon," reports Jill. "I know -- a teaspoon is not what you necessarily think of as a souvenir for an outhouse."
The town of Oran, Iowa also claims to have once had a 2-story outhouse, but all that remains are some tattered news clips. Oran, get building!
America's Only 2-Story Brick Outhouse?
The town of Phelps, New York, has a special 2-story dumper claim. This one is built like a brick shithouse -- because it is. The Phelps Community Historical Society acquired an historic brick home located on Main Street in Feb. 1999. The Dr. John Q. Howe residence, built in 1869, is connected to the outhouse by entrances on both floors, and features three holes upstairs and three downstairs.
Other 2-story outhouses reported:
- Nevada City, Montana - a 2-story outhouse called "Big John" behind an old hotel (saw the postcard -- it's there!).
- San Juan Bautista (a state historical park), California, a short walk from the Mission featured in Hitchcock's film Vertigo.
- Crested Butte, Colorado has preserved an 1800s era two-story outhouse behind The Company Store.
- Silver City, Idaho has a 2-story, 1860s vintage wood sky-crapper.
- Cedar Lake, Michigan - a delapidated treasure from the past.
- Garden, Michigan - Attached to a hotel, part of the Fayette Historic Townsite.
- Bridewater, Maine, boasts of a double-decked outhouse attached to the Town Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Hungry Horse, Montana - The two-story outhouse at the House of Mystery, "Montana's Vortex," is a multi-colored non-operational prop, strictly for laughs, near the parking lot.
- Moab, Utah - The Hole N' The Rock includes an outdoor, 2-story outhouse, though this is a gag add-on to the tourist attraction.
- Janesville, Wisconsin - The historic Lincoln-Tallman House includes an attached two-story privy.
And Bryant Pond, Maine, quietly boasts of its 3-Story Outhouse.