Did Old West houses have outhouses, and were public facilities available?

Darwin Allen Beshirs

Mulvane, Kansas

Just about every private home had an outhouse or privy out back. Every store in the business district had an outhouse behind it. It wasn’t pretty. Think about the rooming houses, saloons and hotels where lots of people would answer the call of nature at all hours of the day and night. Combine that with animals pooping here and there. It’s lucky for us that Hollywood cleans it up and we see the town on film in living color but don’t get the odor that came with life in the Old West. That would surely kill the romance.

If it makes you feel better, sanitation issues were much worse in the crowded Eastern cities. The Indians didn’t escape these sanitation problems either. Mobile, nomadic tribes had the advantage though; when an area got polluted, they just moved to another location.

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