It may not be the original location, but the Zane Grey cabin is rising from the ashes of the Dude Fire that consumed it more than 14 years ago.
Progress on the reconstruction of the cabin next to the Rim Country Museum in Green Valley Park has been steady, if not spectacular, Dick Wolfe, president of the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation reported.
"The foundation is complete," Wolfe said. "The foundation for the chimney and fireplace is also built."
Construction has slowed of late because contractors have been busy on other projects.
"That's good for them and the economy, but not for us," Wolfe said. "But we hope to start on the chimney and fireplace next week, and once that's done the framing will go very quickly."
Wolfe hopes to have the cabin complete sometime next spring. So far the cabin foundation has raised $122,000 to rebuild the cabin, with a total projected cost of $170,000.
The famous Western novelist's cabin was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and by the 1980s it was attracting 20,000 visitors a year. Grey, who penned more than 60 Western novels, spent each fall at the cabin during the 1920s. He set 24 of his books in Arizona; half of those were in the Rim country. Among the novelist's works are "Riders of the Purple Sage," "Call of the Canyon," "To the Last Man" and "Vanishing American."
The original stove that was in the cabin when it burned was donated to the foundation, but it cannot be restored and used in the cabin, Wolfe said.
"The body must weigh 300 pounds, and then we have a whole bunch of parts," Wolfe said. "We thought we could get a local welder to weld it all back together, but they can't do it."
Wolfe said the current plan is to place the original stove in the Zane Grey exhibit in the museum and then find an identical stove to place in the cabin.
"We're going to try to get a stove somewhere around the country that's like it," he said. "We've got the brand name and model and everything."
Dolan Ellis concert
Arizona's official state balladeer, Dolan Ellis, will perform a benefit concert for the cabin foundation at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Payson High School Auditorium.
Ellis has written hundreds of songs inspired by a lifetime exploring Arizona's back roads and trails. An original member of the New Christy Minstrels, he has been appointed state balladeer by every Arizona governor for 37 years.
"He's a neat guy ... he puts on a great show," Wolfe said.
Tickets are $20. More information on advance purchases will be forthcoming.