Flashback Friday - Episode 10: The Domes and the Garden Cabin


In celebration of Easton’s 15th year; on Fridays, we are looking back to Easton’s past to see where we came from! A few days ago, while cleaning in the back room - the area we affectionately call "the pit" - I came upon four drawings in red and black ink on "post-it" size paper. I recognized that these must be Hugh Russell's original designs for the Garden Cabin.

When I first came to Easton Mountain, to lead a weekend program in the summer of 2001, all participants stayed in two geodesic, canvas-covered domes. The second floor of the Guest House was used by staff, because the first floor rooms were in no condition to be occupied, and the building inspectors refused to certify only the second-floor rooms.

The following winter, one of the domes collapsed under the weight of snow. The manufacturer replaced bent metal and the rips in the canvas were sewn together. I remember being on the team that put the canvas back over the dome to make it ready for the 2002 season. By that time, the Guest House had been renovated, so attendees had a choice of that building, a bunk in a dome, or camping.

The domes were used through 2006, but always presented problems. By the end of winter in 2007 there was a hole in the canvas in one dome, and it was evident that the choices were to replace the canvas of both domes or stop using them. At that time our board president was Hugh Russell, an architect from Massachusetts, and he's the one who must have drawn his original designs on that tiny paper.

Hugh Russell working on the garden cabin

He later drew up full-sized plans, and, with snow still on the ground, a small bulldozer was used to level the land for building.Bulldozer clearing land

It was a warm spring, and many volunteers worked diligently, wearing shorts - or sometimes even less. Workers2

Workers building the garden cabinBy the time of Gay Freedom Camp, the Garden Cabin was ready for occupants.

One of the domes, without canvas, is now in the garden, where it serves as a trellis for grapes. The other has been divided into two pieces, the larger forming the backdrop of our outdoor theatre and the smaller used to support canvas covering the mud pit. So these artifacts from our history remain to remind us the days when "the dome" was a housing option - and we have the drawings that were the first steps in their replacement.

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