Red Dog Lodge

- A Brief History

Red Dog Lodge
Red Dog Lodge once served as a hunting lodge and a temporary home. It was built in 1912 by Frederick A. Dolfield and Watson E. Sherwood and probably named for someone's Irish Setter. Dolfield was a Baltimore banker, originally treasurer of the Colonial Trust Company, and later president of the Canton National Bank. Sherwood was a well-to-do Baltimore attorney. Both men had farms near Soldiers Delight and eventually had local roads named after them. Dolfield had inherited his farm, named Alyedo Farm, from his father Alex Y. Dolfield. When the Tyson family's estate was settled in 1906, Dolfield and Sherwood purchased more than 600 acres of former Tyson Mining Company lands in nearby Soldiers Delight for their hunting retreat.

When the stone lodge was completed, a celebration with entertainment for the farmers and residents of Soldiers Delight was announced in the newspaper. The merriment was held on New Year's Day 1913. The Dolfields and their friends would drive out from Baltimore on weekends and for vacations to relax, hunt, and entertain guests. The lodge contained a large sunken hearth and chimney and a wood-stove. Guests slept in the attic, which had a two-window dormer, and was accessed by a hinged stairway. The front porch at the time had a roof and there was a sleeping porch on the side opposite the chimney. The lodge featured a wrought-iron chandelier, kerosene lamps, and had 4-foot wainscoting above wide wooden floorboards. Outbuildings included a carriage house, a "two-holer" outhouse, and a "maternity" house. The porch is constructed from Setters Quartzite, whereas the remainder of the lodge appears to be a local schist or gneiss. It is not constructed from local serpentine, which is not durable.

During World War I Frederick Dolfield bought out Sherwood's interest and with other investors created the Maryland Chrome Corporation to mine valuable chromite for the war effort. In the fall of 1917 he employed John H. Buxton, Jr. as mine superintendent. John, his wife Ruth, and two young daughters Carolyn and Margaret lived in Red Dog Lodge while the Choate Mine was being prepared again for active chrome mining. The family made it through the cold, snowy winter of 1918 and did not succumb to the famous flu epidemic. The blue "graniteware" used by the family is on display in the Visitor Center. John had an interesting 1910 Stoddard-Dayton touring car that he drove around. The only WWI-era photos we have of the Choate Mine and Red Dog Lodge were taken by Buxton's nephew Ted Buxton, who helped at the mines for a while and later enlisted in the Marines, serving briefly in Europe near the end of the War. The "maternity" house was used by Ruth to give birth to John Healy Buxton III in June 1918. The Buxtons then moved into a board house constructed near the mine.

After the War, the Choate Mine closed, but the Dolfields and friends continued to use Red Dog Lodge for their enjoyment. By the 1940s their usage had waned and they permitted the Edward Hibline family to enjoy the use of the lodge in exchange for keeping an eye on it. Later, the lodge fell into severe disrepair and was vandalized until being restored to its present condition by Soldiers Delight Ranger E. Vernon Tracy during the 1970s.

More Articles...