Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
I pass by both on my way downstate to visit my small hometown of Pana, Illinois ("The City of Roses"). The town of Gays, Illinois, is on the stretch of Route 16 that runs from Mattoon to Pana. In Gays (pop. 281) there's a sign that reads TOURIST ACTIVITIES: HISTORICAL TWO STORY OUTHOUSE 1872.
The outhouse is affectionately known as the "skyscrapper." Don't tell me you wouldn't stop to check it out. You know you would.
But why a two-story outhouse?
RoadsideAmerica.com gives this account:
Samuel Gammill built the outhouse at the rear of his general store. There were apartments upstairs, and the second floor of the building connected to the second floor of the outhouse across a short ramp, giving 19th century tenants a private bathroom. The store was torn down in 1984, but the outhouse was carefully spared. Gays had been promoting it as a tourist attraction since the 1960s.
Speaking of Mattoon: when I pass through there I always stop at the Burger King. But it's not like the Burger Kings here, or anywhere else. There's no connection to the corporate Burger King. It doesn't serve Whoppers; it serves Hooter Burgers. Here's the story behind that moniker.
The Hooter Burgers are fantastic! The combo of Gays's famous outhouse and BK's famous Hooter Burgers is like a double-decker, double-patty dose of Americana. Make the drive.