Need a little shelter from the storm? Or just a clean washroom? Ummm…this stop on our trip down Carberry’s Memory Lane might be worth forgetting.
Yeah, I’m including this building in the series because some heritage geeks feel it adds to the heritage character of Carberry’s main drag. I agree. It could…if it was maintained. I visited the men’s room in the public washroom in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012 and it was filthy both times! I mean so dirty and unkept that I walked out without using it! Come on Carberry! If you are going to tout this brick shed as part of your heritage district then take some pride. Your ancestors certainly would have run it better.
As grungy as it is, Carberry’s Public Washroom, which was built in 1983, stems from the long and benevolent tradition of comfort stations in small towns. Most prairie towns had a comfort station, often administered and run by The Women’s Institute, an organization that, before the days of easy communication, supplied country women with the latest home-making ideas including childcare, recipes, food preparation and storage.
In the times of early town building there were no service stations or restaurants with public access to washrooms so the comfort station was a boon to women traveling into town, perhaps in a buggy over rough trails or on foot with babes in arms, and needing a place to rest, relax and clean up. Comfort stations were sometimes referred to as “the most humane institution in the village” Additionally, they satisfied the need for female companionship, sharing and self-respect. Some comfort stations offered coffee, small meals and even lending libraries to their patrons.