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History of Dial Lodge

Dial Lodge, a Princeton eating club, was organized in 1907 and spent its first decade in the old Cap & Gown clubhouse that had been designed by William Ralph Emerson and built in 1897.

This house was moved from its original location on the south side of Prospect, adjacent to the Cottage Club lot, to an undetermined site further down Prospect.


Dial Lodge front door

In 1916, Dial acquired the Chamberlain property, a parcel on the north side of Prospect Avenue between the Observatory (and its attached house, home to generations of Princeton astronomers) and Colonial Club. Dial then engaged Henry Milliken, an alumnus who had just designed the new Quadrangle Club, to draw up plans for a purpose-built clubhouse.

Milliken's first rendering for Dial, dated about 1916, shows a highly symmetrical, academic-looking building distinguished by two string courses that separate the two floors, a central pediment, and a slightly off-center door. It is not clear if the building was intended to be built of stone or brick. In a second rendering, done the following year, the string courses have disappeared, the door is centered, and the windows on the second floor have been rearranged. Most significant, Milliken added a one-story addition to the west end of the building. With its distinctive sloping roof, half-timbers, and enormous penetrating chimney, this addition softens the otherwise rigid academic look of the building.

Completed in 1917, the finished version of Dial Lodge closely resembles the second rendering.

It was executed in the same stone as the University buildings of the period and echoed the stone used in Cannon Club across the street. One other notable detail in Dial are the massive twin chimneys that frame the east side of the structure.

These chimneys, along with the windows and choice of stone, recall the Collegiate Gothic dormitories on the campus, reinforcing the academic models upon which Dial drew.