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Elkhorn cabin construction plans continue at Theodore Roosevelt Library site

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Planning and building a cabin from 1884 in the new world of 2016 is no small task, but it's the job now being undertaken by the organizers of the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

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The Dickinson State University rodeo grounds may soon be home to a close-to-life replica of Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch cabin. Andrew Haffner/Forum News Service

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Planning and building a cabin from 1884 in the new world of 2016 is no small task, but it’s the job now being undertaken by the organizers of the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

Members of the library’s foundation board met Thursday morning to begin addressing some of the more specific aspects of constructing a replica of Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch cabin on the project site on the Dickinson State University campus.

Jim Kelly, interim CEO of the library, said board members worked in the meeting to identify the big questions that need to be answered to fulfill the vision for the cabin.

Those questions included identifying the “checklist items” that lend to authenticity, determining some of the “concessions” the board would need to make to fulfill modern building codes and how to best capture the full scope of the project.

“What we’re trying to find is that blend of how close we can come to what the cabin would have authentically looked like in 1884 and what are the pragmatic issues that we have to deal with today,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to get that 19th century construction and 21st century construction merged with a really good visitor experience.”

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The cabin would be one of the first structural steps in the major library project. Kelly said the timeline of the building will be more defined in the next month, but the board hopes to begin activity on the site by this summer.

State funding of $3 million for the project came with the stipulation that groundbreaking on the site occur by Dec. 31 of this year.

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