History Nebraska Blog

"Cesspool of Politics"

In 1859 Nebraska Territorial Secretary J. Sterling Morton asked the U.S. Treasury for money to build a privy at the capitol building in Omaha. Mother Nature was apparently living in the capitol basement, where the territorial officers and legislators heeded her call.

Letter from Territorial Secretary J. Sterling Morton, 1859

Territorial Capitol in Omaha (RG1234.PH2-3)

Letter from Territorial Secretary J. Sterling Morton:


There is a great need of a Privy on the grounds adjacent to the Capitol building, and of a Well House.

The Basement of the Capitol building has heretofore been used for the former., which in warm weather, renders the upperpart of the building unfit for use., and it has already cost as much or more for cleaning the Basement than it would require to build a Privy. ....

J. Sterling Morton

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