Why start by reconstructing Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch cabin?

Every presidential library re-creates a space important to that president. Often, this is the Oval Office in the White House. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in southern California features Air Force One in a beautiful atrium. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois, exhibits Lincoln’s law office (somewhat disrupted by his rambunctious children!).

The TRPLF has decided to rebuild Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch cabin as the first structure on the Presidential Library campus because it is eager to demonstrate how it intends to interpret Roosevelt’s life. The Board believes that a faithful reproduction of Roosevelt’s principal headquarters in western North Dakota spurs a better understanding of the 26th President of the United States.

The cabin will be built, so far as building codes permit, using 1884-1885 techniques. From hand-adzing the cottonwood logs to erecting the 30x60-foot cabin using human and animal muscle, both the internal combustion engine and power equipment will be avoided to the maximum extent possible. The goal is to make the cabin authentic, not only to exhibit it as it must have looked when TR and his hired men finished it in the spring of 1885, but to let it symbolize the TRPLF’s commitment to historical rigor and accuracy in everything it does at the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

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