This past Homecoming weekend, around 400 people took advantage of Dartmouth’s beautiful and memorable tradition: the tour of Baker Tower. If you passed by the Stacks’ entrance in Berry One Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, you probably saw a long line of people with cameras in hand. I was one of those people in line, grumbling about the delay, but eager to snap some Instagram-worthy shots.Courtesy of Jiyoung Song
The wait: you wait about ten minutes outside the Stacks for the next elevator that will take you up to Stack Level 6. On the sixth floor, you wait from twenty to forty minutes as the line slowly snakes up the stairs to Stack Level 7, where there are no stacks, only boiler rooms and unmarked doors.
The climb: once a staff member lets your group enter the base of the tower, you’re in for some muscle-toning activity. Six flights of stairs later, you pass the tower’s four giant clocks. The final stairway to the top is more like a ladder — it’s narrow, small and frightening (don’t look down!).
The view: you forget all about the long wait and your sore legs as soon as you exit the musty tower and your eyes take in the beauty of Dartmouth. The historic brick buildings stretch across campus enclosed by a lush forest of orange, yellow and red.
“[The view is] beautiful. I didn’t know Dartmouth was so big… But it’s huge and gorgeous. And it puts things in perspective,” says Nelly Cubahiro ’13, student manager at the Circulation Desk.
Sorry you missed it? The next time Baker Tower is open for tours is Winter Carnival. Although I’d love to gaze at Dartmouth’s picturesque campus everyday, the tower is always locked except on big weekends. The library staff wants to ensure the safety of the visitors and students because of the steep climb and narrow passages.
If you’ve never gone on the tour, you must before or on graduation! And if you have gone, go again in the winter! The campus changes every season, and each time you climb up, the view is unique and breathtaking.
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