Guthrie, OK

The man who turned a hole in the ground into a business


Henry Ives Sees Opportunity in Guthrie's Bathroom Shortage

Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this article. All outside references are accredited and may be followed using the links. The outline for this article was written with the assistance of ai. This article is for educational and informational purposes and although the author is not a historian, all dates and accounts are factual according to accredited sources.

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."--Milton Berle

What it took to be an entrepreneur in early Oklahoma

When it comes to being an entrepreneur, you work with what you've got. You see a need and you find a way to turn it into a business.

By letting people do their business. Pardon the pun.

In Guthrie, Oklahoma, a man named Henry Ives arrived on an exciting day in 1889. This was the day when lots of people rushed to Guthrie to claim land as part of the Oklahoma Land Rush.

When he got to Guthrie, he saw that there were a lot of people living in tents. Imagine him looking around at all the people and wondering how he could earn some money.

Henry noticed a problem right away-there were no good places for people to use the bathroom! Maybe he needed a bathroom himself and thought, "I can solve this."

This kind of work isn't for everyone, but hard workers have no problem doing whatever needs to be done.

Identify the need-find a solution!

Henry was a smart guy, and he saw an opportunity to help people and make some money. He dug a really deep hole on his own land, and he collected a lot of leafy branches from Cottonwood Creek. Then he put the branches up around the hole, and he made a sign that said "Rest Room, 10 cents."

Great ideas bring competition

People saw Henry's sign and they were happy to pay him a little bit of money to use his "restroom". Business was good for Henry!

He made a lot of money, but some other people saw that he was making money and they wanted to do the same thing. They started making their own restrooms and charging less money than Henry.

But a little competition is good for the customer, right?

This was not good for Henry's business, and he had to lower his price to just five cents. Even though he was making less money, he still did really well. When people didn't need his restroom anymore, he had earned enough money to start his own shop where he fixed things like harnesses.

Henry was a really smart and enterprising guy. He saw a problem and he found a way to help people and make some money at the same time. That's still how people make money today; see a need and find a solution.

****If you enjoy reading articles about history, you might enjoy reading about an entire group of people who just disappeared: A vanishing at Spiro Mounds: Thriving society of 20,000 individuals disappears

Hi, I'm Judy! I love bringing a magnifying glass to where psychology and history cross. What makes people do what they do? Why did they make that choice? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and share this article on social media and with family and friends, if you'd like.

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Judy Derby has worked in the surrounding communities as a social worker and advocate. providing resources and information to help local families meet their basic needs. She's been writing about social issues and related topics for over 10 years.

Antlers, OK

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