October 13, 2017

Grant Grove Village - Page 3

(Continued from previous page.)
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Photos taken November 2008 unless noted.

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 Camp Cabins.  These small roofed cabins are in the Lodge/Tent City area, the date of construction of them is not known. They do not appear on the 1930 survey of the area, and as permanent roofed buildings they would have been shown if they existed. They sit on the hillside above the duplex cottages near the tent cabins, but are closer to the bathhouse than the tent cabins. They are basically very similar to the tent cabins, but they have a roof. They were built with a roof so that during the winter they could be used for storage of the furniture, mattresses, and canvas roofs from the tent cabins. They are still used for storage during the winter season. The original horizontal board siding on them has been replaced at some time with modern plywood siding (compare the narrow width of the score lines in the plywood siding with the width of the wood siding on the tent cabin at the rear right of the photo.)

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.

Lodge Bathhouse. This is the Lodge Area Bathhouse that serves the Camp Cabins and Tent Cabins located in the Lodge area. Sliding windows like those used on the tent cabins tie it to them visually, while the shingle siding matches that on the duplex cottages, which are nearby. This building appears on a 1930 survey of the area, so was probably built in 1930 along with the Lodge. A raised deck on the opposite side than shown in this photo was added later. The 5 doors on the rear of the building are for showers, these are a later addition, the original showers were in the Lodge Building. Some reports stat that the showers were added in 1993 when the Lodge burned down, but I'm pretty sure I remember them being part of this building many years earlier than that(?) These photos were taken in late fall just prior to the first major snowstorms so the door on the side has been boarded up for the winter to protect it from the snow.

The Rustic Cabins.  These are the rustic cabins in the Meadow Camp ("Camp Grant") area of Grant Grove Village. The first cabins in what was then known as Camp Grant were built sometime prior to 1927 and rented for 50 cents per day. They were tent cabins and some of them were converted to housekeeping cabins with roofs in 1936. According to concession records additional new cabins were also added in 1936. There are currently 24 of these rustic cabins, and from the outside the area looks about the same today as it did in 1936. While retaining most of the original exterior appearance, the cabins have all been recently upgraded and remodeled inside, with new decor, electrical wiring, and gas heaters. In addition new outdoor lighting has been installed in the Meadow Camp area and a new bathhouse was added in early 2009. The cabins that were originally tent cabins can be identified by the windows, they have sliding windows, the other cabins have hinged windows. The cabins on the right in the photo above are former tent cabins. Compare the windows and the area below the roof gable that is filled in with plywood to the same area in the cabin shown in the next photo.

This is one of the original roofed housekeeping cabins, with hinged windows. All of these "Rustic Cabins" now have 2 or 3 double beds, electricity, heat, and carpeting. They do NOT have private baths, you must walk to the bathhouse. Note that at this high elevation it can be a cold walk at night even in summer, bring a warm robe or jacket. Each cabin has a tarp covered patio, with a picnic table and a wood burning cook stove.

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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