Clear all

An Outhouse Gets Built in Austin

1 Posts
1 Users
Posts: 670
Honorable Member Admin
Topic starter

This was written in 1856 and finds Joseph Harrell of Austin irate when he returns home from a trip to Tennessee, only to find that the outhouse for the governor's mansion has been built directly across from his front door:


"The undersigned would respectfully represent that in drafting the plan for the Governor's House and necessary outbuildings, the Draftsman consulting the convenience of the outbuildings to the Main Building, placed the Privy right opposite the front door of my dwellinghouse, across the street, not thinking of the relative situation to my home... I never saw the plan and knowing nothing of the position the outbuilding bears to my home, I went to Tennessee, where I was absent some months, and during my absence, the contractor put up the main building and the Privy, which is according to the plan above laid down, right opposite the front door of my house. On returning home I complained to the Building Committee, who said they had not thought of the position the Privy would bear to my house and would be perfectly willing for it to be placed anywhere else, but that all the appropriations made by the last Legislature for the erection of the Governor's House was exhausted, and there were no funds to pay for removing it.

The Privy was removed and rebuilt in another place, by the contractor, I becoming responsible to him for the cost of removing and rebuilding it, which he estimated at 125.00. Had the buildings been erected by a private individual, throwing the Privy directly in front of my dwellinghouse, there would be no doubt of the duty of that individual to remove it at his own cost and expense. The State should be as just to its citizens, as are individuals with each other, and the undersigned thinks it but just, right and proper, that a sufficient appropriation be made by the Legislature to pay the necessary expense of removing and rebuilding the Privy, and thereby saving him harmless. I would refer to the Governor, Comptroller and Treasurer, to say if the above is not a plain statement of facts."


----- Joseph Harrell of Austin in a letter to the state legislature, 1856. He was eventually reimbursed for the money he had paid to have the outhouse removed

Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 3rd February 2020 3:35 pm