Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire AMC Hut Manager and Co-founder of Mt. Washington Observatory, Joseph Brooks Dodge Sr. (1898-1973)

Joe Dodge is a name familiar to North Country history buffs, hikers and skiers. He was founder of the AMC White Mountain hut system. He was co-founder of the Mount Washington Observatory (along with Bob Monahan and others), and helped to build the the weather observatory on the summit of Mount Washington.

Joseph Brooks Dodge

Joseph Brooks Dodge

He was also the organizer of the original legendary Inferno races from the summit of Washington to Pinkham Notch. This infamous race was held only a few times (in the 30’s and 40’s), and was limited by weather conditions, lack of lifts, and lack of a formal ski area support system. The headwall of Tuckerman Ravine was first skied in 1931 by Olympians John Carleton and Charley Proctor. Sigmund Ruud was the first to schuss the headwall in 1932. Inspired by the Inferno Race at Murren, Switzerland, the Hochgebirge Ski Club of Boston ran their own “suicide race” in April 1932. The race was run again in 1934. In 1939,Toni Matt made his legendary schuss of the headwall during the race, cutting the previous winning time nearly in half.  This was the last “Inferno” race that Joe Dodge organized.  In 1960 “The Last Inferno Race” was held in this location.  Then, the “Son of Inferno” race was resurrected  in recent years, although it’s now a pentathlon with the last two legs of the race including a hike up Tuckerman Ravine and a giant slalom course down the headwall to the floor of the ravine.

In 1930 Joe (Senior) first used jackasses, (the four legged variety), imported from Roswell, New Mexico, to haul construction supplies up to the huts. This work is now done by helicopters.

The book, New Hampshire Notables,” provides a biography of Joe Dodge: “Manager of Hut System for Appalachian Mountain Club; Secretary-Treasurer, Managing Director, Mt. Washington Observatory; educated public schools, Manchester, MA; Dartmouth College, M.A. (Hon.), 1955; joined the Appalachian Mt. Club hut system 1922, mgr 1928; Co-founder of Mt. Washington Observatory with Robert Monahan, 1932; past president, director of White Mts. Region Association since 1940, trustee Memorial Hospital in North Conway NH; charter member Eastern Slope Ski Club; honorary member Dartmouth Outing Club; White Mt. Ski runners, awarded life membership in Appalachian Mt. Club with Arthur Whitehead 1925 for rescue of Max Englehard on Mt. Washington; many silver awards for other rescues. National and State Forest Fire warden; Red Cross and hospital fund raising; Mason, American Legion, Miramichi-Renous Salmon Club, N.B., Canada; Carroll County Fish and Game Club; Coos. CO. Wardens Association; A.M.C. Hutmen’s Association; in U.S.N.R. 1917-1920; Republican; Episcopalian. Resided Pinkham Notch Camp, Gorham, New Hampshire.

Joseph Brooks Dodge Senior, was born 26 Dec 1898 in Manchester, Essex County, Massachusetts, and died October 1973 in North Conway, Carroll County, New Hampshire. He first visited the white mountains with his father in 1909. In 1922 the AMC hired the 24 yr old Dodge as hutmaster for Pinkham Notch. In 1930 he was living in Pinkham Notch, Coos Co NH with his wife of 3 years, Christine (Peterson), and his children Anne and Joseph Jr.

His son, Joseph Brooks Dodge Junior, was none other than J. Brooks “Brookie” Dodge who went on to international fame in ski racing. He was 4th in the Olympic slalom of 1956, and top American finisher that year. In “Skiing Heritage” magazine, he was quoted as saying: “An American is handicapped by being regarded as a playboy or ski bum.” He was a 1951 graduate of Dartmouth College, and member of the Dartmouth Outing Club, participated in the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway.  He was one of the founders of the International Skiing History Association.   In 1978 Brooks Dodge was added to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame. For a brief time (1973 – 1975), Brooks Dodge ran the wave camp from Glen, New Hampshire, only 8 miles from the primary lift area. Reportedly in 1948, Dartmouth College alumnus and Olympic skier Brooks Dodge was one of the pranksters who hung a pine tree off the Old Man of the Mountain’s chin.



Article: Monarch of New Hampshire (about Joseph Brooks Dodge Sr. and family, from New Hampshire Profile)

– “Brooks Dodge, the Life and Times of A Ski Racer” (about Joseph Brooks Dodge Jr.)

“Meet Joe Dodge” (New Hampshire Magazine about Joe Sr.)

Joe Dodge Collection Photo Gallery (Mt. Washington Observatory)-

AMC Huts Blog

Joe Dodge Lodge

The Old Hutman’s Association

-Skiing Tuckerman Ravine-

Joseph Brooks Dodge, (Cyrus Melville-7 Dodge, Cyrus-6, John-5, Moses-4, Nathaniel, Joseph, Richard), was b. 26 December 1898 in Manchester, Essex Co. MA and died October 1973 near North Conway, Carroll County, New Hampshire.  He married November 1927 to Kerstin/Cherstine “Christine” Peterson. She was working as a hairdresser in Boston MA  in 1920, while she was living with her aunt, Hilda Munro and cousin Eric Munro.  She was born abt 1897 in Sweden and immigrated to the United States in 1905.  In 1930 the Dodge family were living in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire.
1930 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Coos > Pinkhams > District 43
Joseph Dodge Head AMC Hut M W 31 married at age 28 MA MA MA Hut Manager, AMC Huts, Veteran WWI
Christine [sic] Dodge wife F W 33 married at age 30 Sweden Sweden Sweden  immigrated 1906 [b abt 1897] Peterson.
Anne Coes Dodge dau F E 1 single MA MA Sweden [b abt 1929]
Joseph Dodge Jr. son M W 4/12 NH MA Sweden [b abt 1930]
Woodard, Leroy boarder M W 26 single MA MA MA painter
Hunter, Rosston boarder M W 25 single NY NY VA hut manager, AMC hut
Christine Dodge 33
Anne Coes Dodge 1
Joseph Dodge 4/12
Laroy Woodard 26
Ross M Hunter 25
Children of Joseph & Kerstin (Peterson) Dodge:
1. Anne Coes Dodge, b. November 1928 in Boston, Massachusetts, and d. 20 February 2012 at Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro NH ; m. Jack B. Middleton; [2nd obituary with photo]
2. Joseph Brooks “Brookie” “Hiram” Dodge Jr. b. 30 December 1929 in New Hampshire; resided in Jackson, Carroll Co. NH. He married Ann Schaefer. She b. 9 July 1929. They had at least one child, Joseph B. Dodge II, b. 1956 who married Roxanne  “Ann” Schafer, of Washington, D.C., the first woman editor of the “Georgetown Law Review” and an enthusiastic skier.

Cyrus Melville-7 Dodge, (Cyrus-6, John-5, Moses-4, Nathaniel, Joseph, Richard),  b. 3 Sep 1857 in Manchester MA; m. Mrs. Ida F. (Dixon) Luftkin, of No. Reading, on 31 May 1885 in Manchester MA. Ida was born 25 Jul 1858 in North Reading MA, the dau of John & Mary J. Dixon. She had married 1st, 23 Oct 1877, to Arthur Winslow Lufkin, son of Loring & Susan Burnham (Polan) Lufkin. He b. 31 Oct 1857 in S. Danvers MA and d. 2 Aug 1881 in Essex Co. MA. In 1920 she and her family were living in Manchester MA with her brother-in-law Charles C. Dodge.
1900 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Essex > Manchester > District 404
Dodge, Cyrus Head M W Sep 1857 42 married 15 yrs MA MA Maine wood turner
Dodge, Ida F. wife W F July 1858 41 married 15 yrs MA ME MA
Dodge, Mary E dau W F Sep 1885 14 single MA MA MA
Dodge, Charles E. son W M May 1889 11 single MA MA MA at school
Dodge, Joseph B won W M Dec 1898 MA MA MA
Dodge, Charles C. brother W M March 1854 46 single MA MA Maine furniture mfg
U.S. Census > 1920 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Essex > Manchester > District 203
Dodge, Charles C. Head M W 55 single MA MA Maine manufacturer, furniture
Dodge, Ida F. sister-in-law F W 61 widow MA ME MA
Dodge, Charles E. nephew M W 21 single MA MA MA civil engineer, construction
Dodge, Joseph B. nephew M W 21 single MA MA MA
–living next door–
Dodge, Jennie Head F  W71 widow MA Ire Scotland
Webb, Mary P. step-dau F W 29 widow MA MA MA teacher, high school
Children of Cyrus M. & Ida F. (Dixon) Dodge:
1. Mary Edith Dodge, b. 26 Sep 1886; m. 18 Sep 1912 in Manchester MA to Henry Ernest Whittemore, son of George R. & Helen D. (Grimes) Whittemore.
2. Charles Ernest Dodge, b. 1 May 1889 in Manchester MA [Dodge genealogy erroneously says “Charlotte”]; a civil engineer. In 1926 he assumed responsibility for the operations of the furniture manufacturing company, which he maintained until the mid-1960s; His 1917 WWI registration card was completed in Beverly MA; in 1920 living (along with his brother Joseph) in the home of his uncle, Charles C. Dodge in Manchester MA. At that time he is running the furniture manufacturing company. About 1924 he married Annie L. –. She b abt 1888 in MA. In 1930 they were living in Manchester MA. He died November 1965 in Massachusetts, SS#029-12-5324
3. +Joseph B.Dodge, b. December 1898 in Manchester, Essex Co MA

Cyrus-6 Dodge, (John-5, Moses-4, Nathaniel, Joseph, Richard) b at Manchester, Mass 4 June 1814 and died there 17 October, 1887, aged 73 years. He went to his trade of cabinet making at the age of sixteen (in 1830 he was an apprentice to John Perry Allen) and commenced business for himself at twenty-seven (in 1841 buying a shop from Samuel Stone), making principally mahogany parlor-chairs.  In 1847 he built the steam mill and factory in which the manufacture of a variety of furniture is still carried on by his sons Charles C. and Cyrus M., and in which an older son, John M. was engaged until his death in May 1896. This was the C. Dodge Furniture Company in Manchester, MA. (The Winterthur Library has a collection of photographs and drawings of furniture manufactured here). Cyrus was a man of great kindness, but of sufficient sagacity and good judgment to conduct a successful business. He m. 20 Dec 1846 at Manchester MA, Julia Elizabeth Coes, b. at Kennebunkport, Me. 17 May 1825, and d. 30 Jan 1886 at Manchester MA.
1850 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Essex > Manchester
John Dodge 77 M  ? 800 b Mass
Susan Dodge 66 F b Mass
–living next door–
Cyrus Dodge 36 M Chair Maker 3000 Mass
Julia M. Dodge 25 F b. Maine
Cyrus M. Dodge 2 M b Mass
Children of Cyrus & Julia Elizabeth (Coes) Dodge:
1. Cyrus Melville Dodge, b. 20 Dec 1847; d. 13 Oct 1851
2. Benjamin Coes Dodge, b. 4 May 1850; d. May 29, 1860
3. Susan E. Dodge, b 30 March 1851; d. 16 September 1851
4. John Marshall Dodge, b. 17 Nov 1852; d. 14 May 1896. Furniture dealer. He m(1) Eliza Hall Howes of Beverly, 24 Apr 1889. She dau of Prince & Mary (Hall) Howes and was b. in Dennis MA. Children: (1) Mary Prince, b. 12 Dec 1890; (2) Martha F.,b. 12 Dec 1890, d. 15 March 1891. Mrs. Eliza Hall (Howes) Dodge died 3 May 1892. He m(2) Mrs. Jennie Hodgdon of Ipswich, 23 March 1894. He d. May 1896. In 1900 Jennie Dodge living in Manchester MA  with step-daughter Mary who was at school.  Jennie and John apparently did not have any surviving children.
5. Charles Coes Dodge, b. 27 March 1854 unm; in the 1870s he took control of the furniture firm. In 1922 he convinced his nephew, Charles Ernest to join the firm. (see above)
6. +Cyrus Melville Dodge, b. 3 Sep 1857; m. Mrs. Ida F. (Dixon) Luftkin
7. Samuel Ward Dodge, b. 28 June 1861, drowned 28 July 1863.
8. Josephine Brooks Dodge, b. 30 June 1866, d. 5 Dec 1868, twin
9. Mary Hayward Dodge, b. 30 June 1866, d. 26 Nov 1873, twin

John-5 Dodge, (Moses-4, Nathaniel-3, Joseph-2, Richard-1) son of Moses, a joiner and cabinet maker, was b. at Manchester, Mass., 8 September 1772, where he died 27 May 1863, aged 90 years 8 months and 19 days.  In the History of Manchester, published in 1895, he is called “a representative old time ‘skipper,’ a man of prodigious strength. He knew all the intricacies of the New England coast, and could make harbor in the darkest night form the sound of the breakers on the different reefs.” He m. Susan Marshall, who was born at Essex, Mass, 27 June 1774, and died at Manchester, 30 December 1851, aged 77 y. and 6 months. She was a woman of strong religious convictions which she expressed in quite unconventional ways, and of very great activity. She had a strong wish that she might never be a burden to any one and her wish was so far fulfilled that she was able to make her bed on the very day she died, the end coming suddenly by heart failure. These were no doubt plain people, but they were brave, energetic and self-reliant, never shirking the hard work of the world. All of the five children below were born and died in Manchester [MA]. They were a family of kind and loving disposition and of high Christian character
Children of John & Susan (Marshall) Dodge:
1. Sally Dodge, b. 1804, d. 24 May 1838; m. Forster Allen 2 Dec 1824
2. John Dodge, b. 1805, d. 1835, a mariner, unmarried.
3. Mary “Polly” Dodge, b. 25 Dec 1807, d. 10 Feb 1847, unmarried
4. Susan Fellows Dodge, b. 13 June 1810, d. 1833, unmarried
5. +Cyrus Dodge, b. 4 June 1814; d. 17 Oct 1887; m. Julia E. Coes

Moses-4 DODGE, (Nathaniel-3, Joseph-2, Richard-1), b. 30 Oct 1737 in Beverly MA, d. suddenly 4 May 1776 in Manchester MA; He m. Sarah Fellow(e)s of Ipswich, 25 January 1761. She was the dau of John & Jerusha (Douglas) Fellows. In Manchester in 1764 he was chosen surveyor of highway; in 1767-70 and ’76 tything-man; in 1776, warden. Administration granted 5 Aug 1776 to his widow Sarah of Manchester. Inventory 19 Aug 1776, L182, 2s, 8d. October 4, 1818 she rendered up her final account and charges for bringing up four children.
Children of Moses & Sarah (Fellows) Dodge, b. in Manchester Mass:
1. Sarah Dodge, b. 2 July 1761; m. Benj. Carter 23 July 1780 by Rev. Benj. Toppan
2. Joseph Dodge, d. 15 Nov 1762
3. Moses Dodge, d. 27 July 1766
4. Anna Dodge, b. 5 July 1767; m. Nathaniel Allen 12 Nov 1786 by Rev. Benj. Toppan
5. Moses Dodge, b. 12 July 1770, d. 6 Aug 1794 in Manchester MA
6. +John Dodge, b. 8 Sep 1772; m. Susan Marshall

Nathaniel-3 Dodge, (Joseph, Richard) b 17 Apr 1694 in N. Beverly and probably d. 25 March 1780, aged 86 (Records, First Church, Beverly).Nathaniel Dodge, tailor, of Beverly, bought of Joseph Giddings, cordwainer of Beverly, 8 Apr 1752 for 66L, about 18 acres with a house in Beverly by the Wenham and Manchester line. No deed shows that he sold it nor do the probate records show any settlement of his estate. His wifes’ name was Anna, and their children are given in the Beverly records.
Children of Nathaniel & Anna (–) Dodge:
1. Lydia Dodge, b. 9 Sep 1717
2. Nathaniel Dodge, b. Jan 1719-20, prob d 1746
3. Allen Dodge, b. 25 Dec 1721, d. 27 Jan 1723
4. Sarah Dodge, b. 11 Sep 1728, d. 18 Feb 1731, called youngest child
5. Abigail Dodge, b. 8 Apr 1735
6. +Moses Dodge, b. 30 Oct 1737; m. Sarah Fellows of Ipswich, 1761
7. Mark Dodge, b. 14 Aug 1742;

Joseph-2 Dodge, (Richard-1) was b. in Beverly 1651; died 10 Aug 1716; married Sarah Eaton of Reading, 21st Feb 1671-72, who died 12 Dec 1714, aged 64; was a farmer in Beverly, near his father, on Dodge’s Row. and in  almost every respect like his brother Edward. Was one of the executors of his father’s estate and received a liberal share jointly with his brother Edward. They held the same under a verbal agreement until February 1708-9 when they put their division in writing. There are other evidences that Joseph and Edward were of a conciliatory disposition by their promptly confirming the title of their brother John to his share. Jonah and Elisha were his executors.
Children of Joseph & Sarah (Eaton) Dodge were as follows:
1. Abigail Dodge, b. 1672, d. 13 Dec 1681 at Beverly
2. Joseph Dodge, the oldest son, a physician; d. 9 Feb 1756, aged 80
3. Noah Dodge, bapt 25 Nov 1677, prob. died young
4. Prudence Dodge, bapt 28 March 1680; m. Samuel Lovett, 5 Feb 1700
5. Abigail Dodge, b. 12 Sep 1681; m. Abraham Perkins at Ipswich
6. Jonah Dodge, b. 29 Aug 1683; m. Sarah Friend 27 March 1707;
7. Sarah Dodge, b. 11 Aug 1685; m. John Friend 1708; d. 1763
8. Elisha Dodge, b 8 Jan 1687-8; m. Mary Kimball of Wenham MA, 23 Dec 1709. With his brother Jonah, shared his father’s real estate and occupied his father’s house while Jonah had a house nearby. Will was dated 1 March 1750 and proved 27 January 1755. Children: (1) Jerusha, b. 24 May 1711, prob dy; (2) Lois, b. 9 Aug 1914 m. Jonathan Dodge 9 Dec 1736; (3) Elisha, b. 2 Feb 1715-16, d. 27 June 1720; (4) Mary, b. 9 Sep 1720; m. ? Joshua Dodge 5 Jan 1739; (5) Elisha, b. 17 May 1723 m(1) Eleanor Dodge 10 Nov 1742.
9. Charity Dodge, b. 7 March 1698-90; m. John Kimball of Wenham 22 Dec 1711
10. +Nathaniel Dodge, b. 17 Apr 1694; m. Anna –; 4 sons, 3 dau

Richard Dodge, baptized in 1628 in East Coker, Somersetshire, England. Along with brother William, he is said to be the son of John and Margery (–) Dodge of Middle Chinnock, Somersetshire, England.  Richard and his family probably arrived in 1638, possibly without royal permission. For a short time lived on land belonging to his brother William. He was received as an inhabitant 29 Oct 1638,and was granted by the town of Salem MA, 12 Nov 1638 ten acres of land, and 26 Nov 1638, the individed lot of eight acres more, the other half being granted to his brother William. Richard was a loyal church member and a contributor to the church. He and his wife Edith were members of the Wenham MA church before 1648 according to its records. In 1658 he was on a list of 21 subscribers to Harvard College, his name ranking first. He dedicated a piece of his land as a burying ground. He named “my brother William Dodge Sr.” one of the overseers of his 14 Nov 1670 will. He died 15 June 1671, leaving an estate valued at the large sum of L1764 2s. He named “my brother William Dodge Sr.” one of the overseers of his 14 Nov 1670 will.  He gave his sons John, Richard and Samuel each a good farm,valued in his inventory at over L100 each.  To his sons Edward and Joseph he gave the home farm valued at L1000. To his wife Edith he gave certain appropriate personal property “to be her own absolutely,” and gave her “the sole and proper use of the parlor & chamber over it in my now dwelling house.” and made liberal provision for annual payments to be made to her by her five sons.  She outlived him seven years, dying 27 June 1678 at the age of 75.  From this is it probably that Richard may have been born about 1602, and was bout two years older than William. Edith, before her death, also made a will, and the inventory discloses a very comfortable state of wordly affairs.  No grave stones, however, disclose their resting place.
Children of Richard & Edith (Woodbury) Dodge:
1. John Dodge, baptized 29 Dec 1631 in England; lived at No. Beverly MA; d. 11 Oct 1713 aged 80; m1) Sarah Proctor; m2) Mrs. Elizabeth (John) Woodberry.
2. Mary Dodge, b. 1632; m. 1653 Zachariah Herrick; He bap 25 Dec 1636 in Salem MA. She d. 18 Aug 1710. In her father’s will, he made bequests to “my daughter Mary Herrick” and “my daughter Mary Herrick’s five daughters.”
3. Sarah Dodge, bapt 1644; d. 1726; m. (as his second wife) to Peter Woodbury, son of John Woodbury of Salem MA. He b. 19 Sep 1640, d. 1704.
4. Richard Dodge, b. 1643; lived at Wenham MA; d 13 Apr 1705, aged 63
5. Samuel Dodge, b. 1645; lived at Ipswich MA; d. 4 Dec 1705
6. Edward Dodge, lived at North Beverly; d. 13 Feb 1727
7. +Joseph Dodge, b. 1651; lived at North Beverly; d. 10 Aug 1716, aged 65

1. Genealogy of the Dodge family of Essex County, Mass., 1629-1894 by Joseph Thompson Dodge; Madison, Wis.: Democrat Printing Co., 1894
2. United States Census Records 1790-1930
3. U.S. Social Security Death Index
4. Vital records at FamilySearch
5. Newspaper articles (various)

[Article updated April 2013 and January 2014]

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One Response to Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire AMC Hut Manager and Co-founder of Mt. Washington Observatory, Joseph Brooks Dodge Sr. (1898-1973)

  1. Julia Nelson says:

    William Lowell Putnam closed the introduction to his 1985 biography, “Joe Dodge: One New Hampshire Institution”, with this challenge: “If you didn’t know Joe Dodge, you damn well should have.”

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