The Scent of Colome: A Visit to the Outhouse Museum

Last Updated by SDPB on

Outhouse curator Richard Papousek’s contribution to humanity is more olfactory than “The Factory.” His Outhouse Museum in Colome is a small shrine to the historic design of private spaces.

The project began about fifteen years ago and a few miles down the road in Gregory, where Papousek formerly ran an antique shop. The museum came into being as a tourist draw, but according to some grew into something much more than that, and according to some others is still just a tourist draw.

“As a kid, I grew up with outhouses,” says Papousek. “We had them at our school and on our farm, and they’ve all kind of disappeared. And I thought this would be kind of neat to make a little collection, so I did that behind my store.”

He put an ad in the paper. “People thought I was crazy, but they did come across with some unique outhouses.” His collection includes a double-door, a doggy outhouse and a shack reputedly frequented by Calamity Jane.  

The Gregory museum opened to some national media fanfare, then settled into its existence as an outhouse collection in a small town on US Highway 18. After Papousek closed the shop, the museum spent a few years in a temporary home then went away. 

A couple historic additions at the Outhouse Museum.A couple historic additions at the Outhouse Museum.

The museum is making a comeback in its new digs in an alley behind Main Street in Colome. Papousek has brought back some of the classics, along with some new, old outhouses, locally acquired. Each is accompanied by a summary of collected oral histories about its provenance and notable visitors received. “Each one has a unique story,” he says, though, “sometimes it might get embellished a little. It’s outhouses, what do you expect?”   

Perhaps this installation will set down roots. “Gregory didn’t really want to be known as the dump of the world,” says Papousek. “I come to Colome and they welcomed it with open arms.” The city even laid some new gravel in the alley.  

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

In The Moment ... Senator Mike Rounds On Cybersecurity

In The Moment ... May 24, 2017 Show 100 Hour 1 As top programmers compete in Rapid City at the International...

In The Moment ... Dental Forensics And The Deadwood Pioneer

In The Moment ... May 16, 2017 Show 094 Hour 2 "Deadwood Pioneer: A Face from the Past" is a new documentary from...

In The Moment ... Calvin Coolidge In The Black Hills

In The Moment ... May 3, 2017 Show 085 Hour 2 This week's Dakota Political Junkies features Roger Whittle, managing...

In The Moment ... Shifting Populations, Shifting Opportunities

In the Moment ... April 20, 2017 Show 076 Hour 1 We continue our look at how shifting populations impact South...

Books

In The Moment ... Children’s Literature In The Age Of Trump

In The Moment ... May 19, 2017 Show 097 Hour 1 We could all use a laugh right now, especially children. So says...

In The Moment ... Dental Forensics And The Deadwood Pioneer

In The Moment ... May 16, 2017 Show 094 Hour 2 "Deadwood Pioneer: A Face from the Past" is a new documentary from...

"Paul Goble, Storyteller"

Artist Paul Goble passed away on January 5, 2017. Biographer Greg Bryan worked with Goble for more than four years...

Michael Dirda: A Life In Books And The Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prize-winning book reviewer Michael Dirda takes a look back at a career as a professional reader. From...

Music

In The Moment ... Shemekia Copeland

In The Moment ... May 22, 2017 Show 098 Hour 2 When Shemekia Copeland was eight years old, her father pulled her...

In The Moment ... Children’s Literature In The Age Of Trump

In The Moment ... May 19, 2017 Show 097 Hour 1 We could all use a laugh right now, especially children. So says...

In The Moment ... Moment In Sound With Aces & Eights

In The Moment ... May 12, 2017 Show 092 Hour 1 Today for Moment in Sound, we welcome Harland Allen and Kim Bachman...

In The Moment ... Levitt At The Falls

In The Moment ... May 4, 2017 Show 086 Hour 1 SDPB's Steve Zwemke sits down with Minneapolis indie band " Night...

Theater

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...

In The Moment ... Remembering Vietnam On Horseback

In The Moment ... May 9, 2017 Show 089 Hour 2 Colt Romberger’s father served in Vietnam, and it changed his life...

Dakota Midday: S.F. Washington's "Wizard Of Oz"

South Dakota high schools produce a variety of plays each year. This week the Washington High School drama...

Dakota Midday: Lisa McNulty On Female Artists

The Off-Broadway Women's Project Theater is the oldest and largest theater company that promotes women artists in...