Students know the Hop as a place to rub Bentley’s nose for good luck, grab some greasy food (or as of late, avocado toast), pick up your latest Amazon package, and watch a theater production. Few students slow down and smell the roses in the Hop. It makes sense a college founded in 1769 has numerous other buildings over a century older than the Hop. Built in 1962, the Hop does not harken back to Hogwarts like Sanborn or the Tower Room. However, if you look around, the Hop will inspire nostalgia for past students and appreciation for its own quirky role on campus.
Designed by Wallace K. Harrison, the Hop is reminiscent of his far better known creation in New York City, Lincoln Center. On the upper levels of the Hop, sharp corners interact with circles, which Harrison was evidently fond of. To easily see this geometry at play, turn your gaze upward. Descend to the basement of the Hop and you find a world students often forget; where one can throw clay, practice the viola in perfect silence and solitude, or read about Stevie Wonder in the music library. The Hop is one of most utilitarian spaces on campus, with a café, three theaters, music practice rooms, three workshops, and a library. It simply houses these places so well that students often forget their existence or become lost when trying to descend one of the numerous sets of stairs.
I remember the Hop’s uniqueness first becoming evident to me when I received the combination to my Hinman box. Who thought that in college I would get an older and more finicky combination lock than in high school? I wrongly assumed my days of twisting and jiggling had passed. As a freshman, I remember sheepishly asking the mail staff for assistance. Dartmouth students have opened the Hinman mailboxes since 1962. I occasionally entertain the idea that Mindy Kaling and I were assigned the same Hinman.
If you ever happen to look to the left of Hinman, you find funky little cutouts in the wall, accordion glass doors neither closed nor open. These phone booths have been deprived of landline telephones that once hung inside, the curved seats no longer in use as students walk by, iPhones in hand.
Students on campus who take the time to explore the Hop become fond of its beauty and peculiarity. With its aged floors and blue trim, the Hop is, has been and will continue to be a home for all students who seek a place to express themselves.