In Jackson, N.H., who says they don't build things like they used to?

Outside the ivy league universities, it's not as easy to find passionate alumni. Most recent grads of any university are more focused on getting their lives in order than on building something for the students who'll follow in their footsteps.

Members of the Outing Club at the University of New Hampshire are a bit different. Their organization's weekend trips draw hundreds of interested students who already know alcohol and drugs won't be allowed. Every year, freshmen begin a lifelong love affair with the club's wilderness cabins, which do not have electricity or running water.

In 2004 the club received a rare grant to completely rebuild their decaying Jackson, N.H. cabin. Knowing their organization has been around since 1911--the same year the White Mountain National Forest was established--they wanted their new cabin to last. They looked to the building style of the area's first farmhouses: Giant timbers notched together and held in place with large wooden pegs. When the alumni heard there was work to be done, they came.

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Without an apparent fear of heights, they carry boards across the frame. Early in the day, the dogs pledge their loyalty to the project. While the timber workers operate below them, the second floor crew pounds nails.
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Travis Genitossio uses a circular saw powered by a portable generator. The cabin's builders have designed the frame to last 100 years. Travis Genitossio and Jason Gagnon measure for wall boards.
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One by one, the new floorboards take their places. The windows are the most modern-looking part of the new cabin. Before the boards are in place, they must be imagined
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Gareth Morgan winces as he uses a saber saw With no domestic utensils around, the work tools must do food duty as well. The timber-and-peg construction is reminiscent of New England's original farmhouses.
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Pat Smart and Pete Manning measure what will be the second floor. Travis Genitossio holds the chalk line while conferring with others. Coating the timbers with a preserving finish

All images are Copyright © 2005 by Mike Colclough, all rights reserved.