Today marks the end of an era. Madison Spring Hut as we've known it for decades closed it's doors for the season and when it opens next spring, it will be a newly remodeled hut. Starting today, the AMC will be renovating Madison and over the next 9 months, the hut will be almost completely disassembled (keeping the current stone bunkhouse) and rebuilt with waterless toilets, an expanded dining room, rearranged bunk rooms, a new kitchen and crew room and will have upgraded energy systems. The job is a challenging one given the location, the timing and the size of the
project but the AMC's talented Construction Crew will be working 7 days a week to get the hut closed in this fall and will return in the spring to finish the interior and to open it for the full-service season.
In many ways, the construction of Madison Spring Hut in 1888 was a revolutionary idea that created the beginning of the AMC Hut System that we have today. Built by AMC members for $701, Madison was a small stone shelter used by hikers traveling in the Northern Presidential Range. For many years it was a refuge and destination and with it's increasing popularity among mountain travelers saw the addition of a caretaker, Madison #2, a third stone building which is the current bunkhouse, a dining room and kitchen addition, and a complete rebuild after a devastating fire in 1940. In the last seventy years, minor improvements have been made, but the alpine conditions have taken their toll and the huts is overdue for reconstruction. For the past three years, many people have been involved in planning the renovation, designing the new hut, fund raising, contributing money, and putting together the logistics of building a hut above treeline, 3.8 miles from the road. To be able to hike up this morning and help the fall crew start packing away dishes, removing old plaques and disassembling the interior felt like a reward in itself. To kick start the project on such a beautiful late summer day was icing on the cake.
I will be keeping everyone updated on the progress of the work this fall, through photos and guest bloggers. If you are interested in learning more about Madison, the renovation and the fund raising campaign which is still going on, please check out The Spirit of Madison.