EAST TEXAS (KYTX) - Using an outhouse was a way of life for the early settlers to East Texas. Henderson's Depot Museum has kept the door open to their outhouse to serve as an educational tool. Tonight in the Emmy award winning,J.B.'s Journal, J.B. Smith gives us a look inside.
"People are traveling through the country, hear about it, come by,that's all they want to see."
Nestled on the grounds of the Henderson Depot Museum…one building stands
"If I lived back then I would love to use that outhouse because it was larger and more elaborate outhouse than any one around."
While most outhouses were built of simple plywood, prominentHenderson businessman John Arnold built his, in 1908, to match his house,complete with a porch, louvered windows for ventilation and a glass window for light.
It also had three different size seats.
"It's very fancy for that time." 92 year old Josephine Thrasher grew up in Rusk county and says she didn't have indoor plumbing until 1936 when they moved to Henderson.
"If they were respectable at all they had an outhouse, even if they lived in poor old shack they had an
"I was raised in rural Arkansas and until the age of 13, I used an outhouse, but it was not near as fancy as this one."
In 1984, Rusk County requested a Texas Historical Marker. "They said the Arnold Courthouse would
receive the marker, they didn't realize we really wanted a marker for an
outhouse, not a courthouse."
Thousands of visitors, especially children, have lots of questions. "Ask what corn cobs are for or magazine tell them toilet paper they really get turned off explain to them aren't
you glad you live in today's times."
"The paper in the Sears and Roebuck catalog was almost as thin as our toilet tissue."
The outhouses were away from the main house.
"Of course, they used lime-ashes, do same
thing as lime to keep the odor down." A part of history, now flushed away.
"I think it's the grandest thing in the world, we have it."
For CBS 19, I'm J.B. Smith
Josephine"Really a work of art." and that's my story. Besides the Arnold Outhouse, The Henderson DepotMuseum has a total of 12 restored structures from Rusk County's past to tour as well
as a children's museum. The museum is located at 514 North High Street.
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