While I can’t identify the students building the bonfire (From the Archives, Dec. 12), I can offer some comments on its construction, since I was there. This particular fire celebrated the fourth consecutive Big Three championship, achieved in 1950 by defeating Harvard 63–26 and Yale 47–12.
Normally the bonfire would have been built and celebrated on the Tuesday following the Yale game, but student pressure resulted in a postponement until Friday, the day before the Dartmouth game, so weekend dates could view the spectacle.
The problem with the postponement was that Friday night was the beginning of the famous Dartmouth weekend hurricane. Although the bonfire was lit, the celebration was dampened by this storm, which resulted in widespread loss of electricity in town and on campus and a game on Saturday that was played in a mud bowl with hurricane-force winds. Punts into the wind actually sailed back over the kicker’s head. A whole new strategy of playing the game had to be devised. Although very much the better team, Princeton was lucky to win. Most fans, like me, could stick it out in Palmer Stadium for only one or two quarters.
Browsing Letters 2007-2008