08:58 AM ET 10/08/97
U.S. Park Service spends $333,000 on outhouse
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The National Park Service has come
up with an innovative way to spend $333,000 -- build an
That is how much the agency paid to design and build a
two-hole facility with no running water at the Delaware Water
Gap National Recreation Area in eastern Pennsylvania, the
Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.
The outhouse, described by critics as a Taj Mahal among
privies, has a gabled slate roof, cottage-style porches, a
tapered cobblestone masonry foundation in the fashion of Frank
Lloyd Wright and an interior design color-coordinated with the
green of the hemlocks outside.
The capstones that serve as porch railings are made of
quarried Indiana limestone. The clapboard siding is 1-inch
cedar. And slate for the roof comes not from Pennsylvania's
ample stock, but from Vermont.
The building also is earthquake proof, having a 29-inch
thick foundation wall.
Tourists have mistaken the outhouse for a visitors' center.
When shown pictures of the building, Rep. Joseph McDade, the
local congressman who sits on the House Appropriations Committee
that approves Park Service spending, found it hard to believe
that all he was looking at was a privy.
Meant to last at least 50 years with little or no
maintenance, the outhouse was the product of two years of design
work by more than a dozen Park Service designers, architects and
engineers. It opened for service in May 1996.
"Frankly, that's what we're paying for toilets,'' Dennis
Galvin, deputy director of the National Park Service, told the