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article number 96
article date 01-19-2012
copyright 2012 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Preserving “The Way it Was”, B&O Railroad Outhouse Restoration
by Debbie Quick

The tracks for the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, now part of the CSX Transportation network, run through the town of Camargo, Illinois. The depot for the B&O was located off Vine Street in Camargo. Sometime between 1952 and 1954 the B&O decided to put the depot, no longer in use, up for bid. Dean Quick of Villa Grove received a letter notifying him that his bid of ninety-eight dollars was accepted. He was now the proud owner of the depot building.

Dean’s employment at that time required frequent travel. While he was away on a business trip, his brother-in-law George Mann, along with his brother Kelly Quick arranged for a crew of family members to dismantle the depot. They took the building material to Villa Grove and stacked it on Dean’s property located on north Henson Road. Dean was very appreciative of this effort.

When Dean returned from his trip he noticed that the outhouse that had been used at the Camargo depot site was still there. He called the railroad to inquire if the outhouse might also be for sale. They responded, “We should have told you that the outhouse went with the depot.” That was good news because it was needed at the north Henson Road location. Dean was able to assist with the loading of the outhouse onto the back of George Mann’s pickup truck to haul it to Villa Grove where it has been sitting for about 60 years. Long out of use, the general condition of the outhouse deteriorated and became quite poor.

Outhouse in its original condition.

The actual age of the outhouse is not known but carvings made in the wood indicate it to be over 100 years old. The building itself is a bit unusual because it is divided into two individual stalls with separate entrances. Apparently one side was for men and the other for women.

In 2011, Dean’s young neighbor Caleb Palmer, knowing Dean’s fondness for the historical building, took it upon himself to restore the outhouse. He moved it about 100 feet, from behind a trailer next to the woods to its present location in the middle of the yard where it was easier for him to access the tools needed to work on the project. Caleb generously spent of his time and resources as an act of kindness for his neighbor. Dean is very pleased that the outhouse now serves as an attractive rustic yard ornament on north Henson Road, at the edge of Villa Grove.

Dean Quick presenting certificate of appreciation to Caleb Palmer.
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