Tent Cabins, October 2017
The Tent Cabins. These are tent cabins in the Lodge/Tent City area of Grant Grove Village. Records also indicate a manager's cabin was built in 1924 and there were at least 12 tent cabins in this area in 1926. The concession records indicate the Lodge tent cabins were built in 1940, however we know the Lodge itself and the bathhouse were built in 1930 or earlier. It seems unlikely they would have built a Lodge and/or Bathhouse the size of these for 12 tent cabins. It is more likely that several new tent cabins were built around 1930 and were remodeled in 1940, so the concessionaire conveniently claimed that as the construction date to make them sound new. Regardless, the records indicate there were 33 tent cabins in this area by 1940, which explains the nick-name "Tent City". There are about half that many tent cabins left today.
The sides and back of each tent cabin originally had half walls, with the upper half of each cabin being canvas tents. If you look closely you will see plywood panels have been added to wall in the upper wall area. The windows slide to open, and the doors are made of wood planks. Each cabin originally had a wood stove inside for heat, however the stoves were removed a few years ago. Now only the roofs are canvas (the canvas has been removed for winter in this photo.) Inside they have 2 double beds, a few also have a 3rd twin bed. Bare wood floors, bare wood walls, no heat, no electricity, and no bathroom. These are primitive sleeping cabins. A battery powered lamp is provided when you check in. I suggest you bring or purchase a flashlight. Depending on which tent cabin you stay in, the bathhouse is up to a half block away, there is minimal night lighting along the paths in this area.
The Lodge Building. The centerpiece of the original Lodge Area was the Lodge building. It no longer exists, but I remember it well. It was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built in 1930. It originally contained a small dining room, visitor registration, lounge with a fireplace, and showers. Starting in 1969 it was used as a General Store and ski shop. Unfortunately it burned down in 1993. It was a significant historic loss for Grant Grove Village. I wish I had taken a photo of it.
The cabin shown in the photo above is one that was originally built as a housekeeping cabin with a solid roof. Notice the use of boards rather than plywood below the gable and the hinged windows. The cabins at Meadow Camp all have horizontal siding, and gabled roofs, as shown on the cabin in this photo.
Originally these cabins had wood-burning stoves for heat. The wood stoves have been removed, but you may notice a faint smoke smell still lingering in the wood cabin walls from the many years of wood burning stoves. The cabins had electric lights installed either originally or very early, you can see the wires in old photos. But the electric lights were later removed when the wiring became old and unreliable.
The first time we stayed in one of these cabins was back in the mid 1980's when they were still very primitive. The cabin at that time had bare wood floors, open wood frame walls, roof with no insulation, and the cracks between the horizontal wall boards were large enough to see out through. The wiring from the old lights was still attached to the inside cabin walls, but the power was disconnected. The roof was black from the smoke of many lanterns and fires, and the cabin smelled like the inside of a chimney. The concessionaire provided us with towels, a bar of soap, a box of matches and a single kerosene lamp when we checked in. Wood for the stove was located in a wood shed by the bathhouse. It was late fall and the evening was very cool, so we built a fire in the stove and the cabin was toasty warm when we jumped in bed. Unfortunately the fire went out shortly after that. It was probably the coldest night I've ever spent indoors! By morning we were wishing we had sleeping bags instead of the light blanket they provided on the bed. I recently talked to one of the maintenance crew who has worked at Grant Grove for many years, and he recalled how one night a guest dropped one of the kerosene lamps and caught the cabin on fire, creating considerable excitement for the staff and guests! Needless to say, the cabins today are vastly improved over those old days.
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