6 outhouses focus of tour at Cobblestone Museum this evening

File photo by Tom Rivers: This outhouse is one of six that will be included on a tour of privies today at 6 p.m. at the Cobblestone Museum.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 July 2017 at 8:12 am

Privies include one that was owned by governor from Albion

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum often has a “First Friday” art show at the beginning of the month. This evening the museum will showcase its impressive collection of outhouses, including a five-seater by the Farmer’s Hall on Route 98, just south of Route 104.

The cobblestone structures get a lot of the attention – as they should – but the museum also includes six outhouses, including the one used by Rufus Bullock and his family. Bullock is the former Georgia governor from Albion. His outhouse is located behind the Ward House next to the Cobblestone Church.

Bullock grew up in Albion and went on to be the governor of Georgia during Reconstruction after the Civil War. He gained prestige as president of the Macon and Augusta Railroad in 1867. He was elected governor and served from 1868 to 1871. Bullock was an abolitionist and successfully fought accusations of corruption while he was governor in Georgia.

He returned to live out his life in Albion and is buried at Mount Albion Cemetery. His house still stands at the northwest corner of West Park and Liberty streets.

Bill Lattin, the retired museum director, will lead a tour of outhouses today at 6 p.m. “Privies: From Primitive to Pretentious-An Outhouse and In-House Tour” will be a fun and entertaining trip around the Cobblestone National Historic Landmark District.

This photo shows the inside of the five-seater outhouse.

The “potty tour” includes each of the Cobblestone Museum’s historic outhouses, indoor commodes and much more.

• The oldest building on the Cobblestone Museum property is actually an outhouse. Built in the Federal Style in 1830, it was originally used at the first bank built in Orleans County, located at corner of NYS Routes 279 & 104.

• The Farmers Hall has a Greek Revival Outhouse that seats five. It’s really remarkable with plastered walls and wallpaper.

• The outhouse at the Museum’s Print Shop is in the East Lake Style with interior paneling.

• The water closet in the 1834 Universalist Church lobby was for men only and the adjacent Cobblestone parsonage has an assortment of chamber pots.

• There are separate boy’s and girl’s outhouses at the Cobblestone School.

•  Those on the tour should wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and be sure to bring a sense of humor, said Doug Farley, the museum director.

“Being new to the job, I have been learning the history of the major buildings located at the museum,” said Farley, who started as the museum director in March. “In the process, I also discovered that some of the structures that aren’t usually mentioned in tours have a pretty remarkable history of their own. For instance, the oldest building on the museum’s campus is actually an outhouse that was originally located at the first bank in Orleans County.  Also, when I came upon the ‘five-seater’ outhouse, I thought to myself, ‘What would that have looked like for a family? Did they all go out to the outhouse together?’ I had more questions than I had answers. I also realized that my generation still has some recollection of using outhouses. However, subsequent generations are most likely uninformed of the intricacies of outhouses. I think in order to appreciate the comfort of our modern sanitary facilities, we have to take a look at what came first.”

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