Madison Number 2, built in 1911, contained a few upgrades over its predecessor, the first Madison Spring Hut—namely seats, tables, and a cooking area. “The coming season it is our intention to furnish in [the hut] simple meals, supper and breakfast chiefly,” read AMC’s Trustees of Real Estate report at the end of the year. One century later, the tradition of hot meals in the high huts is still going strong.
“We believe this feature will meet with increasing acceptance,” the trustees reported following the 1912 season. By the following summer, croos were already struggling to keep pace with demand, often scrambling down the mountain for fresh supplies on a daily basis. “The meals furnished in the Huts were of remarkable variety, considering the situation,” the trustees reported. “Pea soup, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, stewed corn, baked beans, flapjacks with maple syrup, canned fruit, and mountain cranberries. Some visitors have not yet learned that meals are served in the Hut, and they bring food with them.”
When Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas chronicled a hut trip for National Geographic in 1961, he marveled at the sight of the croos shouldering towering loads up the trail. He also described mealtime at length. “It is always a joy to me to watch the hungry eyes of a camp group—perhaps 20-50 youngsters—following the motions of a hutman carving a turkey,” he wrote. “The aroma of a crisp brown bird, bubbling soup, and hot biscuits seems magically to take the ache out of tired feet.”
In recent years, sustainability efforts have led to the construction of food composting facilities at the huts, and the purchase of more local produce.
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.