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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!PRIZES PRIZES PRIZES PRIZES - First Place is $50.00 Savings Bond

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  Outhouse Parade Float Contest

     Register at West Union Town Hall: 300 Court Street, West Union, WV 26456 or by email Parade@westunionfest.org    Click here for Application for Parade

     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. 

Build a sturdy Throne and invite yourself to ride like Royalty!!

Time is short –

Port-a Potties by Zinn Outhouse Float Outhouse Float
Outhouse Float Outhouse Float Outhouse Float
Outhouse Float Outhouse Float Outhouse Float
Outhouse Float Outhouse Float Outhouse Float
Outhouse Float Outhouse Float Outhouse Float Trophy

 Click on any to enlarge

304 300-60279

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:

Charles Eagle Plume's story is about this outhouse

 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
Author Unknown (02/08/2001 Hur Herald ®from Sunny Cal)

As I recall the days of yore In the little house, Behind the house, With the crescent o'er the door

'Twas a place to sit and ponder With your head bowed down low; Knowing that you wouldn't be there, If you didn't have to go.

Ours was a three-holer, With a size for every one. You left there feeling better, After your usual job was done.

You had to make these frequent trips Whether snow, rain, sleet, or fog-- To the little house where you usually Found the Sears-Roebuck catalog.

Oft times in dead of winter, The seat was covered with snow. Twas then with much reluctance, To the little house you'd go.

With a swish you'd clear the seat, Bend low, with dreadful fear You'd blink your eyes and grit your teeth As you settled on your rear.

I recall the day that Granddad, Who stayed with us one summer, Made a trip to the little shanty Which proved to be a hummer.

'Twas the same day my Dad Finished painting the kitchen green. He'd just cleaned up the mess he'd made With rags and gasoline.

He tossed the rags in the shanty hole And went on his usual way Not knowing that by doing so He would eventually rue the day.

Now Granddad had an urgent call, I never will forget! This trip he made to the little house Lingers in my memory yet.

He sat down on the shanty seat, With both feet on the floor. Then filled his pipe with tobacco And struck a match on the outhouse door.

After the Tobacco began to glow, He slowly raised his rear: Tossed the flaming match in the open hole, With not a sign of fear.

The Blast that followed, I am sure Was heard for miles around; And there was poor ol' Granddad Just sitting on the ground.

The smoldering pipe still in his mouth, His suspenders he held tight; The celebrated three-holer Was blown clear out of sight.

When we asked him what had happened, His answer I'll never forget. He thought it must be something That he had recently et!

Next day we had a new one Which my Dad built with ease. With a sign on the entrance door Which read: No Smoking, Please!

Now that's the end of the story, With memories of long ago, Of the little house, behind the house Where we went cause we had to go!

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. ;-)

Rennie Brown
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."

-Gregg Smith
From Mary Jo Kittredge:

Author Unknown

The service station trade was slow
The owner sat around,
With sharpened knife and cedar stick
Piled shavings on the ground.
No modern facilities had they,
The log across the rill
Led to a shack, marked His and Hers
That sat against the hill.

"Where is the ladies restroom, sir?"
The owner leaning back,
Said not a word but whittled on,
And nodded toward the shack.
With quickened step she entered there
But only stayed a minute,
Until she screamed, just like a snake
Or spider might be in it.

With startled look and beet red face
She bounded through the door,
And headed quickly for the car
Just like three gals before.
She missed the foot log - jumped the stream
The owner gave a shout,
As her silk stockings, down at her knees
Caught on a sassafras sprout.

She tripped and fell - got up, and then
In obvious disgust,
Ran to the car, stepped on the gas,
And faded in the dust.
Of course we all desired to know
What made the gals all do
The things they did, and then we found
The whittling owner knew.

A speaking system he'd devised
To make the thing complete,
He tied a speaker on the wall
Beneath the toilet seat.
He'd wait until the gals got set
And then the devilish tike,
Would stop his whittling long enough,
To speak into the mike.

And as she sat, a voice below
Struck terror, fright and fear,
"Will you please use the other hole,
We're painting under here!" =

PRIZES PRIZES PRIZES PRIZES - First Place is $100.00 Savings Bond

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