Local man builds and writes about outhouses

By Jason Harris - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Fri., Dec. 28, 2012
Georg Papp, Sr., next to the outhouse podium he brings to his presentations. Photos by Jason Harris.
Georg Papp, Sr., next to the outhouse podium he brings to his presentations. Photos by Jason Harris.

A man’s love of Americana has led him to not only build outhouses, but also to write about them. Georg Papp, Sr., of Colchester, started writing “The Authority: Of Outhouse/Backhouse/Privy Building” at the beginning of the year. It was published this fall. The book’s idea came from a fan who had seen a television interview with Papp, he said.

This fan sent him a book, “The Specialist” by Charles (Chic) Sale, which was published in 1929. Sale was an actor and comedian who wanted to protect his comedy routine about outhouses from being stolen by other comedians, so he put it in book form, which then would be covered by copyright laws, Papp said. “He’d never built one in his life, but it became a standard,” Papp said, adding that he enjoyed Sale’s book even though it’s inaccurate.

“I said, well why can’t I do it – except I’m an outhouse builder trying to break into comedy and he’s a comedian trying to break into outhouse building,” Papp said about writing his book. His goal was to put together a presentation that would make people laugh, along with giving them information about what it was like to have an outhouse. His presentation is even written on toilet paper.

Papp had never before built an outhouse until his daughter bought a house in New Hampshire and wanted one. She used that old familiar word known to fathers around the world when their daughters want something: “Daddy,” Papp said. At that time, he was learning good finishing techniques, furniture building and other things of that nature.

“She figured since I work with wood, I could make her an outhouse, which is what I did,” Papp said.

Before building his first outhouse 15 to 20 years ago, Papp did a lot of research. “I tried to find out as much as I could back then before I actually started building hers,” Papp said. “When I do something, I want to do it right.”

Papp will be talking about his book and outhouses at the East Hampton Historical Society on April 2.

To find out more about the author, the book, or where the book is sold, visit Papp’s website, http://www.bullhillworkshop.com/.

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