Madison, in particular, had a long history of a new cat in residence each summer. Several felines appear in early photos of Madison, dating the tradition back to the 1920s, at least. Hut croo members from the mid-twentieth century recall colleagues carrying kittens in to the huts atop their packboards. Once they reached their new alpine homes, the cats chased down mice, entertained guests (particularly children), and sometimes even hiked with croo members. They were such crowd pleasers that the croo credited them with an increase in tips dropped into the appropriately named Croo Kitty.
The hut cat era came to a close in the early 1980s because of health and environmental concerns. Yet their legacy lives on in the many old photos that document their time in the mountains.
Images seen here appear courtesy of the AMC Library and Archives. Duplicates can be ordered for a fee. Funds support efforts to preserve the club’s historical collections. Contact Library and Archives at 617-391-6629, visit the website, or send an e-mail for details.