Read the full story by Jim Collins ’84, published by Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.
In the dying light of a September evening in 2016, in a remote mountain cabin 45 miles from Hanover, they gathered for the last supper. Former Dartmouth Outing Club members, lodge crew, students, faculty, alumni—even parents with their children—came together for one last Thanksgiving-style feed and a chance to pay their respects. After years of study and passionate, sometimes tear-filled debate, the decision had been made to tear down the College’s aging Moosilauke Ravine Lodge and replace it with something new. Demolition would begin the following day.
Inside the lodge, they squeezed onto benches at wooden tables that had been pushed together in long rows, crowding the great room. Small bouquets of end-of-season wildflowers—orange hawkweed, yellow-tipped Indian blankets—dotted the table settings. Green-aproned Dartmouth students filled the tables with heaping platters of turkey, bowls of gravy, steaming potatoes. From the tables and from windowsills and along the mantel of the old stone fireplace votive candles softly flickered.
During dessert Jack Noon ’68, who knew the old building as intimately as anyone, stood up and shared memories of managing the lodge over several summers in the 1970s. He talked about the creosoting parties and the first time he’d come here: looking on, rapt, as President John Sloan Dickey ’29 told the freshman trippees about the importance of “place loyalty.”
Whitney Flynn ’07 stood up and recalled how she hadn’t felt at home at Dartmouth until she worked at the Ravine Lodge. “It had something to do with stewardship,” she said. “Following so many upperclassmen and elders who were willing to share their experiences and pass down their traditions. … It felt like looking into the eyes and hearts of strangers and recognizing family.”