How long before the Ravine Lodge will be replaced?

Back in 2008 this site noted with suspicion the talk of the possible demolition and replacement of the Ravine Lodge.

A reading the 2010 edition of the Moosilauke Land Management Plan (pdf) is reassuring, however. While concerned, the folks in charge seem to be the last ones who would want to get rid of the building. From page 24 of the plan:

In 2005, the Moosilauke Advisory Committee and Outdoor Programs began discussing the replacement of the Ravine Lodge, because of maintenance issues and because the building was felt to be not sufficient for existing needs. In the fall of 2008, the College administration decided that, for the foreseeable future (at least five years) it does not envision reconstruction of the Ravine Lodge. The existing main building will be maintained as it long as it can safely be done, and rotten logs will be replaced, as part of the College operating budget through the Facilities Operations & Maintenance department (FO&M).

However, concerns about sufficiency of facilities continue.

That paragraph concludes with a warning of “the significant possibility of replacement of the Lodge in the not-too-distant future.”

When a dinner crowd can no longer be seated safely, or when a weakened log can only be replaced at great expense, how should the replacement Ravine Lodge look?

The recent Moosilauke practice has been to build excellent buildings with timber frames, but one could argue that the Ravine Lodge simply must be a log cabin. Does New Hampshire still have forests that can supply big logs economically? I have no idea. Could a sustainable harvest in the Grant provide the right timber? This could be the perfect time to play out Gregory Bateson’s “New College roof beam” story.1As told by Stuart Brand, William McDonough, and others, the story is that there were no sufficiently-large oak trees on the market in all of England when the ancient beams in the hall of New College, Oxford finally needed replacement. The college head mentioned this to the college forester, and he replied, “we were wondering when you were going to ask about those trees.” It turns out that the forester and his predecessors through the centuries had been maintaining a stand of oaks specifically for the replacement of the hall roof. The story is mythical, of course, but it does seem to be based on real events, since the hall roof was replaced during the 1860s using oaks from college forests (Snopes quote from now-unavailable New College trivia page).

The Ravine Lodge is famous for its collection of cast-off trail signs and other jetsam, and all of this would go to the replacement. Some of the original logs would be incorporated as well. Maybe the new lodge could have a foundation of granite instead of concrete. And the upgrades would be irresistable: it could have a high-capacity septic system, dedicated Croo quarters, a modern kitchen, an accessible elevator, and all the infrastructure the current lodge lacks. Maybe its dining room would be able to seat 125 instead of 85.

If fire safety is the main concern, could the old lodge be saved if its program were reduced drastically? Build the grand new lodge next door and turn the old lodge into a spacious but relatively little-used visitor center, bunkhouse, or storage building.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. As told by Stuart Brand, William McDonough, and others, the story is that there were no sufficiently-large oak trees on the market in all of England when the ancient beams in the hall of New College, Oxford finally needed replacement. The college head mentioned this to the college forester, and he replied, “we were wondering when you were going to ask about those trees.” It turns out that the forester and his predecessors through the centuries had been maintaining a stand of oaks specifically for the replacement of the hall roof. The story is mythical, of course, but it does seem to be based on real events, since the hall roof was replaced during the 1860s using oaks from college forests (Snopes quote from now-unavailable New College trivia page).

The Class of 1974 Bunkhouse

William Maclay Architects, creators of the master plan for the Organic Farm, have designed the Class of 1974 Bunkhouse at the Ravine Lodge. Timberhomes LLC is building the bunkhouse. The class will present it at their 40-year reunion next year. The construction site is visible north of the Lodge in this recent Google aerial:


The Ravine Lodge really seems to be evolving into a little village, less a singular outpost than a summer camp.


Triangle House project begins, other items

  • The Dartmouth reports that work has begun on the extensive renovation of the apartment house at 4 North Park Street, to be known as Triangle House.
  • College Photographer Eli Burakian has posted some superb aerials of Baker and the Green. The latter image shows downtown Hanover and in the distance the hospital, the smokestack of each communicating with the other as if these were The Only Two Places in the World. See also the Mt. Moosilauke panorama.
  • Stantec notes that it worked on Dartmouth’s master plan. One assumes that this was a prior plan, but since the site also lists the recent Dartmouth Row programming study, it’s not clear.
  • Bertaux + Iwerks Architects has info on the 2005 SBRA master plan for DHMC.
  • A new film on the Densmore Brick Company was shown at AVA Gallery; see also the Valley News story and this depressing Bing aerial. From AVA Gallery:

    Lebanon’s Densmore Brick Factory, which closed in 1976 after 170 years of production, made the bricks that contributed to the built environment of the Upper Valley, including much of Dartmouth College.

  • The field-side view of Davis Varsity House is improved by the removal of the scoreboard, Bruce Wood points out (Big Green Alert blog).
  • The Rauner blog has an interesting post on the correspondence between Samson Occom and Phillis Wheatley (Wikipedia).
  • The Band’s new uniforms look good (see Flickr photo). They are more “Ivy” and expensive-looking than the previous plain green blazers over white pants. Black seems to be replacing white as the accent color accompanying Dartmouth Green these days.
  • A July article in the New York Times told of Yale’s efforts to protect its name against a “Yale Academy.” As an aside, I found Yale’s recent presidential inauguration inspiring. After the ceremony the band, wearing academic gowns, led the procession up Hillhouse Avenue, where the president passed beneath a balloon arch and halted in the middle of the street between two lines of student singers. The music stopped and everyone sang Bright College Years. Fantastic. The day before, a dean carrying a yale’s head (Wikipedia) on a staff had led a dog parade around Cross Campus (New Haven Register).
  • Better than having a hockey game at Fenway Park, Virginia Tech and Tennessee will play a football game at the Bristol Motor Speedway, a Nascar track (Richmond Times Dispatch).

A brief history of DOC Trips

The Rauner Library Blog has a nicely-illustrated set of posts on the first Freshman Trip in 1935, Trips during WWII, and Trips in the present. The program is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Robin Meyers created a time-lapse video of scenes at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, focusing on a feed and square dance (via Dartmouth College Planning).