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WEST Union FEST 131...
The Town of West Union, West Virginia was 125 years old in July 2006 ... and Counting!!
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|West Union, WV - Contest!! Contest!
You all remember the Port-a-Potties bringing up the end of our Parade for our 125th Anniversary? Wellllll - that has inspired our Annual Outhouse Float Contest! (How did this happen?)
Build an Outhouse Float for West Union Fest 130
The Mayor and Town Council have authorized a $50.00 Savings Bond and Celebrity Status for First Prize. Winning Float will have the place of honor and close the Parade on Friday, July 22nd, 2011.
Enter as many times as you like. No Entry Fee but All entries must be registered in the Town of West Union office by 4:00 PM on July 22nd, 2011.
|The Outhouse Saga Continues from Barbara Gain - a new clipping
THE OUTHOUSE POEM from Mary Jo Kittredge
MEMORIES - About Outhouses from Walt Dotson
“What is it?” from Gregg Smith
The Outhouse Race submitted by Rennie Brown
|The Outhouse Saga Continues:
From Barbara Gain - a new clipping:
This is Charles Eagle Plume's recounting of the history of our outhouse... This outhouse or "backyard privy" was built by the W.P.A. in 1930, when the great depression was putting thousands of men out of work. So the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his far sighted wisdom, created the W.P.A., a work project agency to give men employment. Among the many fine things they did was to pave our highway which for years had been only a simple dirt road. But to keep the men employed, as soon as the job on the highway was finished then men would tear it up and repave it, again, and again, and again, and again, which was ruining our business since it depended on tourist travel.
So in desperation I wrote a letter directly to President Roosevelt, saying "What we country people need is not a new highway every week, but clean, non-smelling, fly-free outhouses", because in those days outhouses were notoriously bad smelling and fly infested, spreading small pox, chicken pox, measles, and typhoid. In due time I was called upon by some typical government workers, dressed in blue serge suits, white shirts and correct neckties who said to me in great awe, "We have a letter directly from the President instructing us to build you an outhouse. Where do you want it built?".
I took them to a spot convenient to the store but where I knew the underground drainage was not to a spring nor a well. When the outhouse was finished the men called on me again and said "Now you must pay for it." And I in astonishment said "I thought all W.P.A. work was free" and they answered that the work was free but I must pay for the materials: lumber, shingles and paint (which amounted to $13.00 in 1930) and you can help repay the cost of the labor by reporting to our office after your inspecting it every morning and every evening for one month how many flies were in it and how bad it smelled. To my delighted surprise I was able to report after a month of twice a day inspections "no flies and no smell", to which the government men said "Excellent. We built an experimental outhouse and with such a good report, it will be the model for all federally built outhouses, in federal parks, campgrounds, anywhere the federal government builds an outhouse." And so, I call this outhouse the great-grandmother of all federally built outhouses.
|From Walt Dotson: "I remember all this and the cold winter days and everything except the gasoline explosion."
MEMORIES - About Outhouses
|Rennie Brown sent us this link for a great Outhouse Race: http://www.jldr.com/ohindex.shtml.
A copy of his letter gave us a real chuckle too:
A little history: Our town last year celebrated its 125th anniversary with a parade down Main Street. A flatbed truck carrying porta-potties for the next day's street festival waited patiently for the parade participants to finish, innocently falling in line behind the last float. But as far as the crowd lining the street could tell, that truck of porta-potties was itself the last float in the parade! Everybody got a good laugh, with everyone agreeing that the most appropriate float brought up the rear!
The festival was such a success last year that it was decided to make it an annual event. And since the parade wouldn't be complete without an outhouse float, it was also decided to hold a contest to choose the best float for the honor. A tradition has been born!
I'm just an interested citizen, not officially affiliated with the fest, but I couldn't resist making you "privy" to it all. ;-)
West Union, WV
|“What is it?”
Edith & Gregg Smith -1986
Now it isn't a cathedral,
For it hasn't any dome,
And the architecture tells us
That it isn't any home;
And a church you couldn't call it,
For it hasn't any bell;
But it serves it's humble purpose,
And it serves it mighty well.
The wooden door, on hinges,
That when opened, creak and groan,
And the walls are decorated,
With the gems of fruitful loam.
In a summer, long remembered,
This convenience suffered crime,
And the structure, now disturbed,
Is impossibly out of line;
But my hoped for reconstruction
Rest upon the sands of time,
And I firmly insist on compensation,
For the desecration of this old shrine.
If you ever have gas drillers,
At your home sometime,
It best not be Blosser’s,
Lest they do you such crime.
An old woman should not need to,
Use a bucket for a septic pit,
But when the drillers wreck the outhouse,
There is no place else to (You get the picture?).
"This poem was originally written by Edith Margaret Smith (1902-1997),
after the Blosser oil & gas company drilled a well in 1977 on the farm where
she lived. It was re-written in several versions over the years. This
version of her poem was written by us together on a summer evening of 1986. The Blosser Oil & gas company dumped garbage all over the place, damaged the outhouse, gate, fences and filled the barn with mud, which later caused the sills to rot, dumped oil all over the farm and muddied up the roads and creeks. The Blosser gas drillers never repaired anything and never tried to make things right for an elderly woman who meant the world to me."
|From Mary Jo Kittredge:
THE OUTHOUSE POEM
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