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Elkhorn Cabin Crop 3.png

Elkhorn

An authentic recreation of Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch cabin is the first construction project on the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library site.

I wish I were with you out among the sage brush, the great brittle cottonwoods, and the sharply-channeled, barren buttes.
— Theodore Roosevelt to Frederic Remington

The Elkhorn Ranch

 

The first construction project is perhaps the most creative and audacious! Beginning in the fall of 2016, and culminating in the fall of 2018, Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch cabin is being built on the site of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

 
Wendy Ross, Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent, meets with architects and friends of the Presidential Library regarding the Elkhorn Ranch cabin.

Wendy Ross, Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent, meets with architects and friends of the Presidential Library regarding the Elkhorn Ranch cabin.

 

The Cabin

Roosevelt's cabin, built in 1884-1885, disappeared from the west bank of the Little Missouri River sometime after 1900, when he ceased to engage in ranch operations in the Dakota badlands. The site is a national shrine to TR and conservation, about an hour's drive north of Medora, North Dakota, and is carefully maintained by the National Park Service.

 
Clay Jenkinson, distinguished humanities scholar, listens to Wendy Ross, TRNP.

Clay Jenkinson, distinguished humanities scholar, listens to Wendy Ross, TRNP.

Retreat day at the Elkhorn Ranch.

Retreat day at the Elkhorn Ranch.

 

Rebuilding the Cabin

The 30x60-foot cabin is being built using North Dakota cottonwoods, many from Heritage Ranches in the Little Missouri River valley, using 1884 tools and techniques. Minimal concessions to 21st century protocols and building codes will be made. Cottonwoods have been donated by the North Dakota Department of Corrections, which culled them from the banks of the Missouri River as part of a flood mitigation project.

 
Scott Jordan-Denny of JLG discusses the architectural drawings for the Elkhorn Ranch cabin.

Scott Jordan-Denny of JLG discusses the architectural drawings for the Elkhorn Ranch cabin.

 

Building Methods

Hand adzing the cottonwood logs, lifting them into place with pulleys and horses (or mules), and avoiding the use of power equipment or the internal combustion engine adds to the authenticity of the cabin. Built with the methods Roosevelt and his ranch hands used, the cabin will give visitors the feeling that Roosevelt may have just left the house to go hunting and might return at any moment.

 
Cottonwood logs cut down near the Missouri River for transport to Dickinson

Cottonwood logs cut down near the Missouri River for transport to Dickinson

Rock Solid Express Trucking prepares to unload at the Presidential Library site

Rock Solid Express Trucking prepares to unload at the Presidential Library site

John Hanson, a project advisor, with Captain Darrell Wald, ND Department of Corrections

John Hanson, a project advisor, with Captain Darrell Wald, ND Department of Corrections

John Hanson builds with cottonwood logs on his Logging Camp Ranch on the Little Missouri River

John Hanson builds with cottonwood logs on his Logging Camp Ranch on the Little Missouri River


 

Elkhorn News