Exploring the Chapman outhouse

Louis Van Vleet has known where the Chapman outhouse is located for many years. Photo available for purchase

Louis Van Vleet has known where the Chapman outhouse is located for many years.

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 01:46 PM.

A relic of the first Chapman School remains intact on the north side of US 98.

In the backyard of a house on Avenue M is a small shed made of thick cypress boards. It has double walls and three diamond-shaped windows set high in the side. There is a thick corrugated tin roof.

Louis Van Vleet remembers the little shed from long ago. He said, it was one of three outhouses that stood behind the old Chapman School built in the 1800s.

Last week, he and Holly Lemons arrived at the Times office with pictures of the old school and a page from the 1913 Sanborn Insurance maps showing the main Chapman building, with three little buildings at the back of the block occupied by the school. There were small outbuildings located at the northeast and northwest corners of the lot, and a larger outbuilding at the center rear.

These were the outhouses. It may be that the two smaller outhouses were designated for girls and boys, and the larger shed in the middle for teachers. This arrangement was used at other schools of the same period.

“Let’s go find some history!” said Lemons and we piled into her car and set off in search of the Chapman outhouse.

When we arrived, Van Vleet looked at the little building with something like awe. “My mother has probably been in there,” he said.

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