History of the Dartmouth College Grant Cabins
The first Dartmouth cabin in the Second College Grant came in 1951, when a Dartmouth College Forester was hired and the Management Center was built with a gift from the Pack Foundation at what is now the intersection of the Swift Diamond and Dead Diamond roads. Sam’s Cabin, named for the caretaker, was build across the road from the Management Center. Peaks Cabin was built next in 1959 overlooking the confluence of the Swift and the Dead Diamond Rivers on the site of an old logging camp. Peaks is peeled log construction, and has a great view of the river.
Several miles up the Dead Diamond Road, Merrill Brook Cabin was built in 1961 near the site of the old college farm. This too is a log structure with huge log beams for the roof. A porch was later added and then expanded and screened to provide some fine sitting to watch the fireflies out on the broad lawn out back. 1962 saw the construction of the current Gate Camp.
In 1971, the College negotiated a recreation lease with the Brown Company for 10,600 acres of the Academy Grant north of the official Dartmouth Second College Grant. Those lease arrangements remained in effect through multiple owners until the College was able to purchase 197 acres in the Hellgate area in 1984. In 1972, the Hellgate Hilton, another peeled spruce log structure, was built under the direction of Al Merrill and Jack Noon ’68. Noon and Merrill also led construction of Hellgate Gorge Cabin in 1974 across the river from the old Fish and Game Camp (which was renovated and moved in 2002). Hellgate Gorge Cabin has the best screened porch with a view of the gorge and the sound of the river setting the mood.
The last Dartmouth Grant cabins, Stoddard and Johnson Brook, were built in 1987 and 1996 respectively to handle the increased interest in the Grant by students and alumni. Both are more modern plywood construction, but properly rustic nonetheless. Today Dartmouth students and alumni are able to arrange rentals of all of the cabins in the Dartmouth College Grant through the Outdoor Programs Office.