Booger Hollow double decker fell apart after the tourist trap closed.
Booger Hollow double decker fell apart after the tourist trap closed.

Two-Story Outhouses

Who has the World's Only Two-story Outhouse, anyway?

You'd think it would be hard to find even one town eager to dip its hand into this swirling melee of civic posturing. But the double-decker outhouse claim turns out to be surprisingly desirable, and vigorously contested between Dover, Arkansas; and Bell Plaine, Minnesota; and Gays, Illinois; and Phelps, New York... and, well, a shocking number of 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 made this claim. They effortlessly won the category of best photo opportunity. This mock-ramshackle hillbilly dumper was covered with misspelled joke signs. It was an operational lavatory, but both "Maw" and "Paw" stations were on the ground floor. One sign warned "Upstairs closed 'til we figur out plummin'."

So it was technically not a two-story outhouse, just a prop for a big souvenir store. It had good postcards and tasty Boogerburgers, but by 2008 the shop was closed, and by 2017 the outhouse had collapsed into faded ruin.

2-Story Outhouse enshrined in Gays, Illinois.
2-Story Outhouse enshrined in Gays, Illinois.


"America's Only Two-Story Outhouse"

That's the claim made by Gays, in Moultrie County, Illinois. The outhouse 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.

Belle Plaine, Minnesota historically revered 2-story outhouse.
Belle Plaine, Minnesota historically revered 2-story outhouse.

The outhouse is cleverly designed with offset walls to permit the emissions from above to have a safe, but perhaps not-so-silent, bypassage of the ground floor seats.

Locals refer to it as the "skys-crapper."

More about Gays' Two-Story Outhouse

"Home of the Two-Story Outhouse"

This one is 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," Jill Bowers told us. Jill is Bowler's great-great-grandniece. "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."

2-story brick outhouse.
Two-story brick outhouse, Phelps, NY.

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."

"America's Only Two-Story Brick Outhouse"

The town of Phelps, New York, has a special two-story dumper claim. This one is built like a brick sh-thouse -- because it is. The Phelps Community Historical Society acquired a historic brick home on Main Street in February 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 two-story outhouses reported:

  • San Juan Bautista, California - The double-decker in this state historical park is a short walk from the Mission featured in Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo.
  • Crested Butte, Colorado - The town has preserved a 19th century two-story outhouse behind The Company Store.
  • Silver City, Idaho - The town has a two-story, 1860s-vintage wood sky-crapper.
  • Oran, Iowa - This town claims to have once had a two-story outhouse, but all that remains are some yellowed newspaper clippings. Oran, get building!
  • Cedar Lake, Michigan - a recently restored treasure from the past.
  • Garden, Michigan - Attached to a hotel, part of the Fayette Historic Townsite.
  • Columbia Falls, 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.
  • Nevada City, Montana - a two-story outhouse named "Big John" behind an old hotel (We saw the postcard -- it's there!).
  • Moab, Utah - The Hole N' The Rock includes an outdoor, two-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, possibly used by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Encampment, Wyoming - The second story of this double-decker was particularly appreciated when the snow was deep.
  • Calgary, Alberta - Formerly attached to the Windsor Hotel (which burned down), this double-decker privy was in use until 1963!

2-story novelty outhouse, Hole N' the Rock, Moab, UT.
Two-story novelty outhouse, Hole N' the Rock, Moab, UT.

And Bryant Pond, Maine, quietly boasts of its Three-Story Outhouse, behind the Masonic Hall.

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Two-Story Outhouse

Historical Two Story Outhouse 1872

Address:
1022 Front St., Gays, IL
Directions:
I-57 exit 190. Drive west on Hwy 16 for nine miles, through Mattoon, into Gays. Look for the blue official Illinois "Historical Two Story Outhouse 1872" sign. Turn right at Pine St.; one block north.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Two-Story Outhouse

Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House

Address:
405 N Chestnut St, Belle Plaine, MN
Directions:
Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House. On the north edge of town, one block west of Walnut St./Hwy 25, by Court Square Park.
Hours:
Currently closed to tours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
952-873-6109
Save to My Sights

Two-Story Outhouse

The Company Store

Address:
311 Elk Ave, Crested Butte, CO
Directions:
In the alley next to The Company Store. On the east side of 3rd St. between Maroon and Elk Aves. Outdoor view only.
Admission:
Free.
Save to My Sights

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