In 1992, Carleton student Jimmy Chin—now an internationally recognized climber, mountaineer, skier, director, and photographer—signed up for a climbing trip to Joshua Tree, California. He was an immediate natural. While others warily inspected their first climbs, he launched up the rock with gusto. Before the trip was over, he was already attempting more challenging routes.
Jimmy Chin’s legacy of outstanding rock climbing and outdoorsmanship lives on through Chaney House, a current student interest house for outdoor enthusiasts. However, Chaney House was not always designated as Carleton’s outdoor activities residence. Built in 1871 and owned by William Watson for many years, it was eventually deeded to George K. Dike in 1899. In 1940, Carleton College bought the house and used it to accommodate female students during World War II. It then served as faculty rental residences until 1973 when it became student housing again.
The building was named after Lucian Chaney, a Carleton alum whose work in the early twentieth-century U.S. Department of Labor greatly enhanced safety conditions in the iron and steel industry. Until 1986, Chaney House served as the Arts Interest House, where students would gather in the living room to watch ten to fifteen miscellaneous one-act plays by amateur student performers. Since 1986, Chaney House has hosted various student interest communities such as the Outdoor Activities House, Womyn’s Awareness House, International House, and Green House.
Currently, Chaney House is known as CANOE (Carleton Association of Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts) House. With canoes in the back and weekly CANOE meetings, it continues to serve as an important gathering place for student outdoor enthusiasts.