The original rec hut...
This photo of the hut was taken by Mimi Wallace in January 2000
The origin of this hut stems from the height of the Richie Skane era...although I was on station in April 1990 with him, I had no idea it was about to appear. It was constructed by friend Thumper (Jim Porter), who described its origins...
The construction of it was approved per Richie, but Thumper was quite concerned that there might be folks in upper management (NSF and ASA) who might object to some aspects of the project. So he endeavored to (1) make it unobtrusive, i.e. out of view of the station, (2) make it a high-quality structure, and (3) make it low-impact on the program by using mostly scrap/recycled material. The floor was a new sheet of plywood, and perhaps the four 4x4 vertical posts were as well. The siding was tongue-and-groove redwood or cedar material salvaged from the old sauna, which had to be demolished/replaced after a fire a couple of years earlier. The interesting part of the construction was the foundation--as the building had to withstand 100 mph+ winds, and obviously a more typical foundation (such as coring out holes in the rock and anchoring the corner posts in concrete) was not feasible. So after the corner posts were installed and initially framed, a 2x bottom deck was installed and filled with rocks, perhaps about a ton of them (as can be seen in the above photo). That foundation has survived to this day. The construction also included a weather barrier of tar paper, and the roof was constructed from the heavy-duty 18-gauge sheet metal inside layer of the old biolab building panels which had been replaced in 1989-90.
The project was mostly completed during the 1990 winter with the assistance of foreman Greg Esche, although cmdr (Mark Melcon) ended up finishing the varnish and installing the door.
Alas, the dampness in the area eventually contributed to extensive mold growth, and it was declared unsafe for overnight occupancy. But approval was obtained to rebuild it, which was done in 2009-10...it was made slightly wider, but the original foundation was retained. At right is a photo of the original endwall which was taken during the reconstruction.
The photo at the top of this page is from educator Mimi Wallace, who spent time at Palmer Station in January 2000 as part of the TEA project--she was accompanying various LTER projects studying penguins and water quality among other things, and she spent a night in the hut. The photo is used here with her permission. The photo of the endwall was taken in October 2009 by Zee Evans and shared by Bob Farrell.