An 1872 Two Story Gays, Illinois Historic Outhouse

The 2-story Gays, Illinois Outhouse
The 2-story Gays, Illinois Outhouse
Photo by J. Jarmin
Sign pointing to the Historical Two Story Outhouse
Sign pointing to the Historical Two Story Outhouse
Photo by J. Jarmin
Missy visiting the 2 Story Outhouse
Missy visiting the 2 Story Outhouse
Photo used by permission from Missy Leigh

    Our latest picture of the Gays, Illinois 2-Story Outhouse comes to us from Missy Leigh. She said her and her best friend Amber were driving through Gays, Illinois and they decided to stop at the Outhouse and Amber took the picture above. Thanks for a great shot, Missy!

    Dateline 7 June 2009 We received an email from someone who lives in Gays and knows what she is talking about. Here is what she has to say in her own words verbatim:
    "I was reading your article about our two story outhouse. I've lived in Gays most of my life and my father has lived here almost all his life of 85 years. People have been giving you a load of crap no pun intended. The outhouse has always been in the same place it is now never been moved. It was behind the general store we used to have and they had apartments upstairs. It was built so the people upstairs wouldn't to run down stairs all the time. Plus there was never any little coalstoves in the outhouse. Besides being a silly idea you didn't see any chimneys on it did you? The smoke from the coal would have to go somewhere if it had been there.Just wanted to give you a heads up on the situation from one who knows the facts."

    Mr. Jarmin was checking out our Outhouses of America Tour web site and he didn't see a particular 2-story Outhouse near his father-in-law's home.
    It is located in the town of Gays, Illinois. As you can see, it is an official state tourist stop. According to that sign, the Outhouse dates back to 1872! The sign board has different articles that have been written about it. Also, if someone is curious, you will notice that there are no steps to the top floor. They only used the top floor door when snow drifted above the bottom level. Do you believe it?
    Well, someone just told me the truth about why there are no stairs leading up to the 2nd story of the Outhouse and we knew it was true all along but decided to print what the person above said. Here is what we were just told:
    "I came across your web site when looking for the Gays, Illinois official web site. I wanted to let you know that I am from Gays, the home of the oldest two-story Outhouse in existence. I noted one little falsehood in your write up. You stated that there are no stairs because the second story was not used unless the snow drifted. Amusing, but not true. There are no stairs because it was attached to a building which has since been condemned. The Outhouse was detached and moved across the street to the area in the picture on your web site. There are no stairs because the second story of the Outhouse could be reached from the second story of the building it was attached to. The building was originally a general store on the first level and an inn on the second. The two-story Outhouse was built so people staying at the inn would not have to go down to the general store to use the Outhouse. Coming from someone who grew up as one of the 250 residents of Gays, that is the story you can believe! - Hillary "
    And yet another comment from a visitor: "The double-dumper was originally built behind what use to be GAMMILL’S general store and you could access the top perch from the ground but I never saw a weather event that made this necessary."
    Here's another comment from a Mr. Weaver on 6/10/2006. "As a boy 7 years old my father lived in the apartment with his parents, brother and 2 sisters. My father (Bill Weaver) gathered coal on the big 4 railroad tracks to sell to the residents of the apartment. The 2 story outhouse had a small coal stove on each floor. Each time someone went into the outhouse they would take a few pieces of coal for the stove to keep it going so the outhouse would stay warm. Winters were cold snow drifts were often 6 ft deep, there were no bathrooms in the apartments. The Weaver family later moved to Mattoon. My father met my mother after high school in Mattoon and they were married. Being a young couple with not much money they moved to Gays and lived in the apartment with the 2 story outhouse. My father worked in the ammunition plant in Mattoon during WWII. I can barely remember living in the apartment as a boy of 3 years old. I remember I use to like to run out to the outhouse door and back to the apartment on the second floor walkway. I can remember riding a tricycle on the second floor walkway too."

  What else can you see in the images shown? Many times a photo is worth a thousand words and I've only elaborated with a few so why don't you add some "color commentary" to my collection. If your addition is worthy, you will find the quote added on the Comments to the Curator page.

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