Sanitary Privies/Outhouses (demolished) – Cottonwood AZ


From 1933 to 1938, the Civil Works Administration (CWA), Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) – in short, the work relief agencies of the New Deal – built over a thousand “sanitary privies”, or outhouses, around Arizona under the Community Sanitation Program directed by the Arizona Board of Health.  The program canvassed private property owners to see if they needed new privies and the government provided the labor if the owner paid for the materials.

Over one hundred such outhouses were built in the Verde Valley of Yavapai County.  In all likelihood, every last one has disappeared over the years.  Fortunately, the one shown here was photographed and documented for the Clemenceau Heritage Museum in Cottonwood.

“The purpose of this program was to eliminate hundreds of old, unsightly, filthy, fly-infested ‘typhoid temples’ that were very much in evidence along the roads and highways throughout rural areas and towns. The plan was to improve the view for travelers and tourists and improve the health of residents. The approved standard type of sanitary privy was built to prevent surface drainage and excluded flies, small animals and rodents from the pits or vaults.”  (Extract from Prescott Evening Courier,1936, at Clemenceau Heritage Museum)

Source notes

"Community Sanitation Program," Prescott Evening Courier, March 20, 1936.

"Rural Sanitation Project Closing, " Prescott Evening Courier, December 5, 1938, p. 2

Archives of the Clemenceau Heritage Museum, Cottonwood AZ

Project originally submitted by Nancy Kores on June 8, 2022.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

North Main Street
Cottonwood, AZ 86326

Location notes: arbitrary pin drop in Cottonwood

Coordinates: 34.74428, -112.019304875

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