Dacie Moses House celebrates 137th anniversary as alumni push for renovations

31 January 2020

The Carletonian, Jan. 31, 2020
By Dane Swanser

“Dacie’s is a gift,” said Julia Uleberg Swanson, program coordinator of the Dacie Moses House and someone who has committed to maintaining Dacie’s legacy at Carleton for 30 years. In celebration of Dacie’s birthday, this legacy became extremely apparent to anyone who had the pleasure of attending the brunch held on Sunday, January 26.

Photo by Alex Cardenas
Photo by Alex Cardenas

Townies and Carls alike joined together, as they have done since the 1950s, to eat together and to witness the Singing Knights and the Knightingales, two historic acappella groups that found their home at Dacie’s. Dacie Moses has proven time and time again that it is just that, not a house, but a home. A home that continues to work for Carleton and create a lasting sense of unity and belonging.

August Lindgren-Ruby ’20, the lead student worker at the Dacie Moses House, considers Dacie’s legacy to be central to Carleton. “If people know one thing about Carleton, it’s probably Dacie’s,” he said. Dacie’s legacy is, at its core, one of belonging and hospitality. This legacy has been a staple of Carleton’s mission and an example for it’s student body.

This past Sunday, her message was loud and clear as her house was filled by easily 80 people. One of these many attendees was Carleton alumni Jeff Pipes ’83. He was the first student resident of Dacie’s House after her death during his time at Carleton and met her when she was still living. When asked what he hoped would happen with Dacie’s house in the future, he pushed for physical repairs.

“The house is old,” said Pipes. Renovations are past due and in order to maintain this historic and cultural landmark of Carleton, changes need to be made. “My worry is that when the contractor comes, they’ll say that they won’t be able to save it,” says Pipes.

The house is not handicap accessible, the kitchen could be more functional, and the space cannot consistently hold the amount of people that it attracts on Sunday mornings. For a house that Carleton uses as much as it does (the face of much of Carleton’s advertisement, an attraction for prospective students, and even a feature in People’s magazine in 2003), the house needs time and effort to preserve it. Dacie’s is a functional part of Carleton’s history and exemplifies many of Carleton’s values: trust, hospitality, acceptance and friendship.

Dacie’s is as successful as it is largely due to Carleton’s student body. The respect and appreciation Carleton students have shown to the house throughout the years is remarkable and is mandatory for a place so communal. Dacie’s legacy will always be at the core of Carleton College, but changes need to happen in order for her house to be accessible and welcoming to all.

Carleton students wishing to be a part of Dacie’s legacy should apply to be a student worker, house resident, or a volunteer. Lindgren-Ruby and Uleberg Swanson both speak to the impact that working at Dacie has on students. The ability to be directly involved with the Northfield community and gain hospitality skills is invaluable and is hard to find anywhere else on campus. Students wishing to become more involved or even become a resident are welcome to stop by the Dacie Moses House and connect with any of the student workers there.

[Web editor’s note: The anniversary referred to in the headline is the 137th anniversary of Dacie Moses’ birth.]