The rebuilding of Zane Grey's historic cabin on the grounds of the Rim Country Museum at Green Valley Park is gaining momentum.
A 1/4-inch scale wood replica of the cabin, completed just in time for the recent Business Showcase, is about to go on tour around the Rim country and elsewhere.
"We're going to put it in places like bank lobbies, maybe the theater lobby -- anyplace where there's a lot of traffic," Zane Grey Cabin Foundation president Dick Wolfe said. "We'll have brochures and a picture of the park where the cabin is going to be located."
The replica also will be sent to Ogden, Utah, for the annual meeting of Zane Grey's West Society, a worldwide organization of Zane Grey buffs.
"They're going to be making a presentation to their members on behalf of our foundation urging them to get behind this," Wolfe said.
The cabin replica was built by Warren Krom, a retiree who moved to Payson from Denver four years ago. Krom has long built replicas as a hobby.
"Many years ago I did one whole block of 1930s-era buildings for ‘National Geographic,'" Krom said. "We had dust bowl people and everything."
Krom was given just six weeks to build the cabin replica, and he averaged about six hours a day on the project -- about 250 total hours. It is so detailed that it contains three miniature trophy heads of the exact animals that hung in the original cabin.
"I bought these little plastic animals at a shop at the Grand Canyon," Krom said. "I just cut their heads off and hung them on the wall. There's a moose, an elk, and a bighorn sheep."
Even the maroon velvet curtains, handmade by Krom's wife, are as close to the original as possible.
Wolfe also announced that the foundation, which was just formed two months ago, has decided to begin the permitting process, and hopes to break ground in late July or early August.
"It's a huge step forward, but a scary one," he said. "At the last meeting, the board unanimously approved going forward with construction, so this Wednesday morning at 8:30 we go before the town's development services committee and present our plan, and that starts the process for issuing the permits. All we have to do now is find the money."
The foundation also has been collecting artifacts and memorabilia, much of which will be placed in the cabin or in an enlarged Zane Grey exhibit that members hope will be on display permanently at the Rim Country Museum.
Newly acquired items include a black-and-white comic book rendering of "Knights of the Range," printed in England; a 1926 magazine that contains "Nevada;" a "big-little" book of "King of the Royal Mounted;" and 8 mm film versions of some of Grey's stories.
Charred artifacts that were salvaged from the cabin after it burned down also are surfacing, including a 1904 Colt 3220 pistol that appears to be gold-plated underneath; the original stove from the cabin kitchen; and some original rocks from the external foundation and fireplace.
The famous novelist, who literally penned 56 westerns, spent each fall at the cabin during the 1920s. He set 24 of his books in Arizona and half of those in the Rim country.
Architectural renderings and blueprints of the cabin are already complete, and the full scale replica will be built on the grassy knoll just to the east of the Rim Country Museum.
To join the foundation or learn more about ways to contribute to construction of the cabin, contact the foundation by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 3188, Payson, AZ 85547; or by phone at (928) 474-6115.