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Snow Sculpture RIP?

Seuss Sculpture.jpgLet’s start with a little history of the Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture from Dartmouth Now:

At Dartmouth, the craft has been practiced in a semi-official capacity for the past 90 years. In the late 1920s, a new student position responsible for a “Center of Campus Statue” was appointed for Winter Carnival, Dartmouth’s legendary event that in its heyday drew thousands of visitors and television crews to campus. One of the first “all campus” sculptures—a lovely castle on Occom Pond—was created by H. Pennington Haile ‘24, likely for the 1925 Carnival.

Since then the sculptures have ranged from the elaborate, such as a fire-breathing dragon (1969) or a whale with a snow spout (1982), to the simple yet imposing—such as a castle to celebrate 100 years of Carnival (2011). Most are based on the Carnival’s theme, chosen by students every year since the 1950s. (Carnival posters are also based on these themes.) A 20-foot tall young maiden, for example, is the sculpture for the 1967 Carnival, “A Midwinter Night’s Dream.”

One of the most celebrated sculptures was “The Cat in the Hat” for the 2004 Carnival, “Oh, the Places It Snows: A Seussentennial.” The image of the sculpture was featured in USA Today and other media.

Savor those memories because it seems that there will be no center-of-the-Green snow sculpture this year, despite the Geisel family’s visit. The administration will say something about a lack of snow — though everyone knows that snow has always been brought in by truck in years when Mother Nature has not been generous with Mother Dartmouth. Of course, many people will wonder if disappointed BLM protesters made threats against the sculpture after their proposed theme was rejected. But those two excuses are not the impetus for the change. The real reason is simpler and more dispiriting: not enough students were willing to take on the work. How sad. There was an expressive response to such apathy during my time in Hanover: weak tit!

Another old tradition fails.

Addendum: Back in the day, all of the fraternities on Webster Avenue built their own great sculptures, too.

Addendum: If you want to shed a silent tear at the sight of the empty Green just a little while before Carnival weekend, take a look in real time using the Class of 1966 Webcam:

Class of 1966 Cam.jpg

Addendum: There is no truth to the rumor that the snow sculpture has been cancelled because a twenty-story graduate student research complex is to be built where the Green is now — much as Phil and Carolyn might want that to happen.

Addendum: A young alum writes in:

How disappointing. My freshman year, the “Ravine Lodge sculpture” collapsed due to warm temps, and we worked all night to get a “Mt Moosilauke” up. Sledding down the mountainside was quickly ended by the college, likely due to safety reasons. Looks Dartblog had an article about it on Feb 12, 2009. You’ll notice that the mountainsides are chopped off…to prevent those dangerous sledders from hurting themselves! Hah!


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