Billy Hutton digs in the shaft below the old "privy" at 121 W. Blossom St.
Billy Hutton digs in the shaft below the old "privy" at 121 W. Blossom St.

   Deep under “House on the Hill,” the historic home being renovated by the Billy Hutton, Haley Julian and family, sat a trove of treasures.

   Getting to them, though, would mean literally digging into the past at 121 W. Blossom St.

   Over the past several weeks, the family has been digging out a 160-year-old “privy,” otherwise known as an outhouse.

   While this may seem an odd if not outright gross place to dig, it’s a figurative goldmine for archaeologists such as Ripon’s Jack Steinbring.

   “There was no public garbage [years ago]; you had to find your own place to put it. Privies were a very common place to throw it,” he said.

   That means, more than 100 years later, much of yesterday’s trash survives to become today’s historic treasure.

   In fact, this particular site is better than most.

Read the full story in the June 6, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.