The New England Grimpendium: Panarchy Tomb Room

For the next month, I’ll be posting photo essays on locations, attractions, and artifacts elaborated on in my new book, The New England Grimpendium (available now) to celebrate its debut...and to convince you that it’s worth buying, I guess. That was directed at you, Mom.

August 19, 2010 — Did you know that, as a general rule, there are no basements in Florida? I mention this because that’s the state where I attended undergrad, meaning we had nothing so killer as the below basement that the residents at the Panarchy undergraduate society house at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, get to take for granted. It’s called the Tomb Room, and it dates back to at least the late 1800s in a mansion that dates back to 1835. Nobody has any real details about the construction of the Tomb Room, but most assume the concrete throne-ringed space with its central altar was created by a previous fraternity tenant. Panarchy was nice enough to give me some alone time in this room of long-forgotten secret rites by men decades dead. However, it should be noted that Panarchy is a privately owned residence and that the Tomb Room is closed to the public.

UPDATE: The folks at Panarchy sent me some more information about their society and house: "Panarchy Undergraduate Society is an egalitarian, coeducational residential house at Dartmouth College. At over 10,000 square feet and dating back to 1835, the Mansion is perhaps the most impressive of all off campus student housing. Interested Dartmouth students are invited to attend open house meetings every Wednesday night. Tell them Zooey and Franny sent you. "

Read all about my visit to the Panarchy Tomb Room in The New England Grimpendium, which is on sale now.