A suitable site is not always available for an above-ground public convenience station, for a public convenience station built above ground might form more or less of an obstruction or might not lend itself readily to the decorative effect of the locality. In such cases, or when for any other reason it becomes necessary or advisable, public convenience stations may be built underground.

Fig. 121 Public Convenience Station No. 1. District of Columbia

Henry B. Davis, Architect

Fig. 121 Public Convenience Station No. 1. District of Columbia

A sectional view through the stairway of an underground public convenience station, showing an elevation of the structure, may be seen in Fig. 123. In this station the stairways are located outside of the building. Ordinarily, however, it will be found better to place them within when such a design is possible. This is more particularly true in cold climates, where, if located outside, they might become covered with ice, thereby proving dangerous to the visitors and the source of numerous lawsuits for damages by people injured by falling on the icy surfaces.

This illustration does not show the ventilator shaft, which projects above the top to carry off the exhaust air from within which is forced out by electrically operated fans.

It might seem unnecessary to remark that all that part of the structure of an underground public convenience station which shows at the surface or projects above ground level should be made ornate and attractive rather than ugly and repellent. If a station is attractively designed and well managed it will prove a welcome convenience in any locality, not an objectionable feature or a nuisance.

The interior arrangement of this underground public convenience station is shown in Fig. 124. It may be said that not only is this interior similar to the one previously shown, but, further, that the interiors of all public comfort stations are practically the same, the arrangement and kind of fixtures, shape and dimensions of the building, and general arrangement of the various compartments being the only details in which they differ. The object is to make every station a public convenience in every sense. To this end an attendant should be on duty both in the men's and women's compartments at all times while the station is open, and the services of the attendants should be at the command of patrons free of charge.

Fig. 122 Public Convenience Station No. 1, District of Columbia

A. R. McGonegal, Sanitary Engineer

Fig. 122 Public Convenience Station No. 1, District of Columbia

That all people shall be treated alike, tips should be barred and attendants should not be permitted to solicit visitors to purchase notions or novelties which they have for sale. Only such toilet articles as are necessary or convenient should be carried on hand for sale, and these should be obtainable for a small fee, which should go to the maintenance fund of the station, not be a personal transaction of the attendant. Bootblacking privileges may be given or rented, pay telephone stations provided, and directories, maps and other charts and books should be on hand for free consultation, so that all possible information about the city - streets, hotels, theaters, libraries, schools, bath houses, art galleries and other points of interest - may be obtained. Drinking fountains may likewise be installed to minister to the wants of thirsty patrons, and soap, towels and other toilet necessities should be obtainable at small cost.

The question whether to make a station self supporting often comes up for consideration. In densely crowded districts, where the attendance is large, the small fee of one cent per person would not only pay operating expenses and interest on the money invested but in from four to ten years

Henry B. Davis, Architect Fig. 123 A. R. McGonegal, Sanitary Engineer

Henry B. Davis, Architect Fig. 123 A. R. McGonegal, Sanitary Engineer

Public Convenience Station No. 2, District of Columbia pay off the original indebtedness, leaving the building free and clear. By charging one quarter cent each visit and issuing tickets of admission the operating expenses of the station can be earned.

Fig. 124 Public Convenience Station No. 2. District of Columbia

Fig. 124 Public Convenience Station No. 2. District of Columbia

The plan of charging admission might satisfactorily solve the problem for many municipalities which otherwise could not see their way clear to assume the original indebtedness and yearly charges attendant upon the construction of a suitable number of stations for the public needs. In such cases the public would not object to paying a nominal fee of one cent for adults - children free - and by this means within a few years the city would own the stations, when they could be thrown open to the free use of the public. It would be better, for instance, for a large city requiring twenty public convenience stations to erect them all and charge a small admission fee than to build only one for free use. When possible, however, to build and maintain free public convenience stations no fee should be exacted. The prime object is to make the stations public conveniences and the full value of the convenience will not be experienced if a fee, no matter how small, is charged.

Underground Public Convenience Stations 184