It turns out, they're from almost exactly a century ago! They were bid out and constructed in the summer and then fall of 1917.
|Public Restrooms on State and High:|
the "kiosk" and iron railings around the stairs are clearly visible
Memorial Day parade, 1941 (Salem Library Historic Photos)
|June 28th, 1917|
Plans have been completed for the comfort station to be erected jointly by the city and county on the southwest corner of the court house lawn, and in a recent interview, George M. Post, the architect, gave the salient features of the building. The station will be entirely underground, with only the stair way railings and the Kiosk visible.There was some wrangling at Council and the County over design, funding, and on-going maintenance, but in December they were finally finished.
There will be two rest rooms, one for the women, 14 by 18 feet in size, and one for the men 9 by 13 feet. The women's side of the station will be on High street, and the [...] room with the lavitory will extend 51 feet north and south. The State street side, where the men's waiting room and lavitory are situated, is 43 feet long. A drinking fountain will be a feature of each rest room.
Entrance will be gained by means of two stairways, one on High and the other on State street. These will have an iron railing around, to prevent accidents. Tho entire structure will be of re-inforced concrete. Sidewalk lights will help to dispell the gloom on sunny days, and a system of electric lighting will assist at all times. The plumbing will be of a sanitary type.
The heating and ventilating features are especially unique, as the rooms will be heated by a system of gas radiators. Hot water will be supplied by a Rudd automatic gas water heater. The clear height of the rooms will be 8 1-2 feet. The ventilating feature will perhaps be the most interesting feature of the building, including as it does the kiosk, an octagonal shaft 15 feet in height, of re-enforced concrete, rising on the very corner of the lawn. This shaft is hollow, and the foul air is forced up this, and out at the top. Fresh air enters through openings on the stairways, and after passing through the rest rooms is drawn into tho lavitories by an electric fan situated at the base of the kiosk. From the lavitories it passes through air ducts into a utility passage where it comes into the fan duct and is thrown out.
The Kiosk will be an ornament of very artistic design, and will be finished in white cement. Four lamps, of the bracket design will quarter the shaft near the top. The building will be equipped with all modern conveniences and comforts