It’s Moosiauke Lodge’s 75th birthday. Most historic buildings in the US are treated very carefully. Caretakers wear slippers when they walk in these buildings. They are pristine, and there is a historic plaque on the wall. Not quite the same can be said for the Lodge.
The Lodge was built by hand 75 years ago in order to serve as a ski lodge for Mt Moosilauke. Not only was the building supposed to last only 7-10 years, but the logs that were pulled off the mountain to build the Lodge were the last of their size.
It doesn’t need a historic plaque. When you step foot on the red plank floor of the main room and look at the New Hampshire record size moose head from the 1940’s and the signs for the old Tip Top House that sat at the top of the mountain when Moosilauke had a rope tow, you can just feel it. Feel the years of dancing on the floor, the millions of fires that have warmed friends from the hearth, the hard work that students have put into the place from the very start, 75 years ago.
The only reason people wear fuzzy slippers in the Lodge is when it is cold. Every year, just about a thousand students literally shake the floor dancing during freshmen trips. During this, the Lodge caretakers put extra supports under the floor from the basement. During the rest of the year, the lodge has a crew of students that cooks breakfasts and dinners for guests, maintains the buildings and organizes events and dances. It is through these events that I have attended some of the best dance parties of my life, slept under the stars, learned how to sharpen an axe, helped hikers with their blisters, and found a release from the hustle and bustle of school.
Although I would love to come back and visit the same lodge in my 90’s like some of the alumni who were at the 75th anniversary dinner, I know that it is going to need to be rebuilt in my lifetime. Many of the conversations during dinner touched on the legacy, and I realized that with so many people that care about every inch of the lodge, that legacy will continue. The building may look different. It may even be insulated and clean, but it will still sit under Mt Moosilauke, and students will still dance the salty dog, pass down stories and enjoy the sky full of stars.