The Marshall House in Columbia City is a wonderful spot. Once the home of Thomas Marshall, Woodrow Wilson’s vice president, it now houses the Whitley County Museum, and tells the story of line in this neck of the woods going back a couple of hundred years. But there’s always been a chapter of that story missing, a detail about early rural life no one really talked about, until now.
The Whitley County Museum’s newest artifact is a rare, brick outhouse. And it’s an artifact that has a lot of miles on it.
“The outhouse was built in Columbia City in 1866 by Franklin Faust,” says local historian Jennifer Zartman Romano. “It was on his property, and I imagine he used it every day of his life!”
The Faust property eventually came into the hands of Mary Anthes, whose grandson Greg had fond memories of grandma’s place and her little brick shed. So fond that when his grandmother’s property sold, Greg Anthes bought the outhouse, dismantled it brick by brick and reassembled it in his backyard in Marysville, Ohio. He used it as a garden shed. When Anthes and his wife decided to move East, Greg realized grandma’s outhouse belonged back home in Columbia City. In June he donated it to the historical society and paid to have it moved there. And there it now sits, with a couple of hundred miles on the odometer.
“Well we plan to make it back into an outhouse,” says society member Chuck Jones. “It will not be a working one it will be a display outhouse.”
Once the display outhouse is up and running, visitors will be privy to the whole story of rural life in Whitley County, from beginning..to end.
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