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Outhouses the Porto-Potties of the Past – Columbus Georgia Online

Outhouses the Porto-Potties of the Past


Outhouse Connoisseur

Sandra Waldrop Doolittle
Sandra Waldrop Doolittle

by Sandra Doolittle Page, read her CGO column Glory Days



OutHouse, at the home of Former President Jimmy Carter in Plains , Georgia.

PLAINS, GEORGIA — I started taking notice of Outhouses one summer day when I had need of a restroom. Jan and I were riding around Harris and Muscogee County investigating her stories for her website “Gone and Almost Forgotten Georgia.” When my granddaughter Delaney Ann Doolittle sitting in the back seat listening to everything I was saying to Jan.

Earlier that morning I had coffee and Diet Coke to drink . We could not find a McDonald or Burger King. I told Jan I would settle for an outhouse. My Delaney( then about ten years old ) leaned over the front seat and looked me right in the eye and said, “What is an Out House , Nanny?” I told her the best I could what an Out House was. She looked at me for a while and then she said, “You got to be kidding.”

Since that summer day, I have collected and read about outhouses. I still don’t believe she took me seriously. When I tried to tell her more as I read about, she would look at me and say ” sure Nanny.”

I have never been close to an outhouse, to use that is. But I have seen a few left behind that had been used in their time.

When I tried to tell Delaney the two-seaters were one for an adult and one for a small child so they wouldn’t fall in….as she listened, I could tell I was digging myself deeper and deeper. I found out later the moon and sun on each of the doors of the es were for men and women since some of our ancestors couldn’t read and this helped them which door to go in.

Next, she asked, “Where did they keep the toilet tissue, Nanny?”…when I told her what they used and where they kept it…and how it was , what we call flushed… she looked at me so cute with a twinkle in her eye and said…”Nanny, now I know you are kidding me.”

Outhouses…would now be considered “Gone and All Most Forgotten.”

If Delaney ever goes back to Plains , Georgia and she passes by the Out House, I wonder if our conversation will ever cross her mind, while looking at the square little box house with the half moon on the door?

Memories of Columbus Georgia – Remembered by Jan Doolittle Page and me, her Mom.

1. Ollies’ Trolley. This was behind Cross Country Plaza. It was a Hot dog vendor with a small shop shaped like an old street trolley car. As Mom I remember, stopping there every now and then getting Hot dogs to take home.

2. Giant Slide. There May have been more than one in town, the one I remember most was behind K mart on Macon Road. These slides were 2 0r 3 stories tall. probably taller. As Mom I remember taking Jan , Norma Kay and Wally to the Giant Slide.

3.Kirvens restaurant. There used to be a fake tree in the middle of the restaurant, it looked like the top was growing out through the ceiling. when my husband and I visited one of Raymond Rowe’s downtown stores we saw the old tree it was not quite as big or grand as I remembered it, but it was good to see it anyway. As Mom I remember eating around the tree that looked as it was growing thru the ceiling when I was very young.

4. Skateland an old skating rink located on Broadway we went to Birthday parties here before the newer skating rink was built. As Mom, I remember the Ice Skating Rink on Victory Drive in the late 1950s.

5. The Edgewood Drive In was located on Macon Road. It has been torn down and a garage now occupies what was once the back rows of the theater. If you look closely, you can see the raised places where the cars once parked. The individual roads to each aisle are also barely visible. The other picture shows what was the main entrance to the drive in. The two very nice men at the Macon Road garage told us vandals set fire to the screen, and that the place looked like a war zone. How sad. As Mom, I remember the Rexview Drive in and the Clearview Drive in nearby and the Phenix City Drive Inn for my Phenix City dates.

6. Spanos Restaurant. This restaurant was located in downtown Columbus. It dated back to the late 1800’s. We would eat there every Sunday after Church for several years. The restaurant had very old marble top tables. One of the tables is now at Dinglewood Pharmacy along with other items from Spano’s. What a great idea, you can eat a Columbus legend (scrambled Dog) on top of a Columbus legend (Spano’s table). Thanks Mr. Hurley for saving a part of old Columbus. As Mom I remember, going to Spano’s Restaurant after Church on Sundays and meeting with all the other Church goers. Jan, Norma Kay and Wally were dressed like every Sunday was Easter Sunday. I remember dressing in our very best to attend Church Services.

7. Magic Oven Bakery. Before every chain grocery store sold fresh baked goods there was such a thing known as a bakery. One of the most popular in town was the Magic Oven. There were several around town, the one’s I can remember the most are Talbotton Rd, later moved to Hamilton Rd, St Mary’s shopping center and Rosemont shopping Center. When the last Magic Oven closed several years ago, I was lucky enough to have one of the last Birthday cakes made. I even have verification by one of the employees that my cake came from the last batch baked. They also had great cheese straws. As Mom I remember, eating hand over fist from the Magic Oven Bakery and not gaining a pound until ten years later.

8. Pritchett’s Fish Camp. This was the place to go if you had large parties or small groups. It was a large building with portioned off dining rooms. Waiters came to each room and took and carried in orders. You could get their attention by turning on a light switch that would turn on a bulb outside your room. My family’s favorite was the red Snapper. It was all you could eat, and if you walked away hungry it was always your own fault. One was located on Hamilton Rd and there was another on Buena Road. As Mom I remember, having all our wedding , baby showers and family birthday parties at Pritchett’s Fish Camp. Mostly we ate at the Pritchett’s on Buena Vista Road.

9. Kirven’s live mannequins. My mom was telling me when she was younger, every Christmas they would stand outside Kirven’s department store to watch the motorized mannequins. They would be wrapping Christmas presents and putting them under the tree. As Mom I remember, standing in front of my mama and watching every movement of the mannequins, the lights and the music. I remember it well.

10. Dimensions. Dimensions, was a very hip store in the early Seventies it was located at Cross Country Plaza, it was on the end where Davidson’s once was. Near and over Deorio’s. You could buy almost all things seventies there. clothes and decorations. As Mom I remember the styles very well.

11. Stripling Terrace pool. This was out Warm Springs RD. I believe the big apartment complex is where the old pool was. When I was a teenager in the seventies there were stories about razor blades on the slide, so I never got to go there. But, it was a very popular place. Many people have fond memories of the old pool. As Mom I remember…I never went to Stripling Terrace pool. I lived in the Jordan / Johnson area and we went swimming at St. Elmo Swimming Pool at the foot of the Country Club.

12. The Varsity. This is not like the Varsity in Atlanta, but the food was just as good and greasy. Some of the best onion rings in the world could be found there. It was located on Macon Rd. across from the old Columbus Square Mall site, soon to be our new library. The varsity had parking in the back for curb service. As Mom I remember the best Chicken sandwiches in town made at the Varsity Drive In. Mr. Averett and Jimmy Ellis was on top of everything.

13. Bowl-a-rama. Bowl-a-rama was located on Francis St off Wynnton Rd. where the Bargain Town now sits. If you go in the store it slopes down funny, maybe because of the old bowling alley construction. I remember Bowl-a-rama did not have electronic score keeping, we had to figure our scores by hand. As Mom I remember the Bown-a-rama as a young adult and staying after midnight after going to a movie.

14. Ice skating rink. Mom remembers going ice skating at a rink on Victory Drive in the late Fifties as a teenager. For a short time there was an ice skating rink on Bradley Park Drive in the Seventies. This was near Peach Bowl Lanes. There are no ice skating rinks in Columbus currently. As Mom I remember, for a southern gal, I stayed standing up quite a bit, which surprised me.

15. I need some help with this one please. There was a childrens clothing store on Wynnton Rd once in the middle or late sixties, it had a small gated area with a play area for the children. I barely remember this shop, just enough to drive me crazy. It faced Wynnton Rd and was near the old barber shop. Does anyone else remember? Wee Moderns is probably the one I am remembering. (Mom said it would have been in the mid to late 1960s. My Aunt , Norma Waldrop Heid , and Mom used to shop there and Wally,(Doolittle) and Jennifer (Heid Hendrix) both born in 1966 used to play in the large play pen while Mom and Aunt Nornie shopped and was served Hot chocolate in a rocking chair around an open fire place where it was cozy and warm. As Mom I still can’t remember the name of the shop. I just remember how warm and cozy it was with the fireplace the hot chocolate and an area that the little ones could play in.

16. The Dee Dee Shop. This was located in a shopping center near Lake Bottom Park. I believe it was Our first Shopping Center. We bought many outfits at the Dee Dee Shop. The boys dept. was called the Canterbury shop. The old shopping center once had a grocery store and I seem to remember it had a drug store and beauty shop at one time. Mom told us that her mom, Myra Richard Waldrop used to ride the Trolly from Down Town Columbus out to where the Dee Dee Shop is now and ride the boats around the Lake at Lake Bottom. As Mom I remember, shopping for the three children and myself at the Dee Fee Shop. Their cloths , handbags and shoes could not be found any where in Columbus.

17 Melody Lakes. Way back in the 1960’s My Aunt and Uncle bought a lot in Melody Lakes. It was going to be a retirement home for them, and also a weekend get away place. It is located in Waverly Hall, maybe 20 something miles up the road from Columbus. Through the years I often wondered what happened to Melody Lakes since my Aunt and Uncle’s plans did not go through. I expected to find a deserted ghost town like place. Just the opposite is true. It is an active area full of residences. As Jan said, Melody Lakes is still active and full of homes.

18. Cumbaa’s Shoe Shop. Located once on the street that the side entrance to Kirven’s was on. Where a young Sam Rawl’s waited on you behind the counter. Daddy took his shoe to Cummbaa’s to repairs and shine as long as I can remember. Later on Mr. Rawls and Dad worked in the Life Insurance Business together. He taught both Mom and Dad in their Insurance classes . As Mom I remember, Sam Rawl’s and his parents.

19. Eileen’s Dress Shop. Located on First Avenue, very swanky. It took Mom 6 weeks to pay out of lay away a $50.00 dress in 1959. As Mom I remember, my dad going down and paying my lay a way off.
My Bookkeeping for McCollum Studio only paid $21.50 a week.

20. The Goo Goo. Across the street from Linwood cemetery. White table cloths inside, curb service outside. Mom also said the Goo Goo is where Billy Case took her to Dinner the night of her Graduation from Jordan High School. As Mom I remember, Eating outside of the Goo Goo were for dates, eating inside were for formal Dinners. The old Goo Goo sign can now be found at Country’s Bar B Que on Mercury Dr. in Columbus.

21. Baker Music Company. This was where most local school bands bought their instruments. Not to mention this is where Papa, mom’s Dad bought her violin when she was in the Third Grade. Mom was ready to quit playing the Violin in the fourth Grade. But Papa said, ” Not with the price he paid for the Violin.” She was still in the Jordan High Orchestra when she Graduated from Jordan High School As Mom I remember, The last time I played in the Orchestra, then I placed that violin in the case for many years to come.

22. The Plaza Theater. Behind Cross Country Plaza. Large round theater with a smaller round theater attached. The seats rocked The Plaza is where Norma Kay Doolittle, my sister and I saw “Star Wars” about thirty-five times. The Manager of the Plaza gave Mom the Star War Poster that was in the Lobby. As Mom I remember, Paying for Star War tickets for at least thirty-five times.

23. Water Wiz. This was off Warm Springs Rd and East Lindsey dr. This was a built in the ground water slide. It was around in the mid to late seventies. As Mom I remember, taking Jan , Norma Kay and Wally to the Water Wiz many times.

24. Dr. Jive. This was a record store . I seem to remember it being in Columbus square mall and Cross Country Plaza. Very hip place back then. We would love to go buy small plastic beads to be threaded on elastic string and worn as love beads. I just realized how old I am. As Mom I remember my older sister Norma, listening to Dr. Jive, but not me. I don’t know how Jan remembers , but she does. Cotton fields through out Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Fewer and father between.

25. Mrs. J McCrum wrote me and wants to know if you remember Castleberry’s at Five Points across from East Highland Church and their famous Spinning wheels, Choppy’s scrambled dogs, Jumbo’s , Stewart’s root beer, and Well’s dairies off 4th ave and their ice cream. well, if no one else does Mrs. McCrum, Mom does, she excitedly nodded at each place mentioned. On some she even elaborated. As Mom I remember, most all of the eating places. Castleberrys was a place to go after Church on Sunday night and get a milk shake.

26. Muffler Man. A muffler man is what people are now calling those 20 foot tall plastic men that stood in front of tire and muffler shops in the sixties and seventies. Columbus had at least one. He was located on Fourth Ave near the main entrance to the Municipal Auditorium or Civic Center as it is called today. I seem to remember the waffle house on Buena Vista Rd having their version of one too, he was dressed in white pants, shirt and cap. I think he held a hamburger.This is just an example of the one we had Downtown. My sister Norma Kay was scared to death of the Muffler Man. When we would try to drive down 4th Avenue going to the Fair Grounds, she would would hide in the floor board and cover her eyes.

As Mom, I remember…trying to find a new way every year to get down 4th Avenue during fair time, without going by the Muffler Man and not being held up by the trains a few blocks over.

Thanks for letting me share my memories with you all.

by Sandra Doolittle Page, read her CGO column Glory Days

About Sandra W. Doolittle 14 Articles
Sandra shares her Glory Days. Her early years are a look into the history of our part of the world. Her High school days, the sock hops, the soda fountains, her friends and love of family. Join Sandra for an interesting read.

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