The Outhouse Gotta Gogo

Vienna outhouse oldIt’s gonna be out with the outhouse and in with the new – well – the new outhouse. But the new outhouse is going to be elegant as well as comfortable, much better for the environment, and a whole lot easier to get to and to use. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

For 127 years, patrons of the Vienna Union Hall have had to trudge all the way around and out back of the building to do their business. The outhouse, built on top of ledge and listing to the side, now offers a pungent aroma, and when the wind blows, the toilet paper does too. There’s no electricity or heat, so it’s not all that much fun in the winter. They do give you a flashlight during night performances so you can find your way out there.

I did a book talk at the Hall last year, but I went easy on the food and drink afterward, not at all eager to check out the outhouse.

The Union Hall was built in the small village of Vienna as a gathering place where townsfolk could unite. Today it is a charming community hall, complete with stage and balcony, hosting lots of events including theater, music, and even weddings. Local folks who love this old historic building have cared for it over the years, volunteering their time and money. But this is a very small town of just 573 year-round residents, and they need our help for this new project to, in their words, “warm our buns.”

Vienna outhouse newThe new outhouse will take them from “Brown and Down to Green and Clean.” They’ll construct the new outhouse much nearer the front door, add lights and heat, and install a composting toilet. Most of the work will be done by skilled volunteer carpenters, but they must raise $16,300 for materials, excavation work, a licensed electrician to install the lights and heat, and other expenses. The electric heat unit has been donated, but they need $3,079 for the Envirolet Waterless Remote System. The new toilet must be waterless because the building has no water.

You can help

“Our Outhouse Gotta Gogo” has been set up as a project on the Indiegogo website, to raise money for this project.  There’s even a funny video there that you won’t want to miss.

There are several categories for donors: Rush Job, Honey Dipper, Privy, Johnny Come Lately, Sweet Smells, and Brown Gold. And here’s some really good news.

If you donate between $25 and $50, your name will be memorialized inside the new outhouse! How cool is that?!! Larger donations will be recognized in other ways, including on a plaque inside the hall, but I think it’d be very fine to have my name right in front of everyone who visits this very special comfortable, warm, lighted outhouse. It’ll be the finestkind of place. Join me there, won’t you?

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.