The Zane Grey Cabin Foundation received a $50,000 grant from the Gila River Indian Community at the Payson Town Council meeting Thursday evening.
"It doesn't put us over the top, but it's a major leap forward," Dick Wolfe, foundation president said. "A lot of it depends on how successful I am getting the local contractors to donate labor and materials."
The total estimated cost to rebuild the famous western novelist's cabin, adjacent to the Rim Country Museum at Green Valley Park, is $184,920. The original cabin, where Grey penned many of his novels longhand, burned in the 1990 Dude Fire.
Richard Narcia, Gila River governor, and Larry Stephenson, economic development planner for the tribe, presented Payson Mayor Barbara Brewer with the check. The mayor, in turn, handed the check over to Wolfe.
While Arizona tribes are required under the new gaming compact to return a percentage of their revenue to communities in the form of grants, Wolfe said he was surprised and gratified that the Gila River Indian Community had selected a rural community outside its service area. He credited Stephenson for his effort in obtaining the grant.
"Larry is a member of our foundation and when he saw this opportunity for a grant he immediately called us and we quickly got an application together," Wolfe said.
The grant is one of 15 the tribe is awarding.
Obviously the community council had no problem funding the project," Gary Bohnee, community public relations director, said. "They thought it was a worthwhile activity because of the historical nature and because (Zane Grey) was an important person in Arizona."
The cabin's foundation is completed and awaiting final inspection.
"Once that's done, we can move forward completing the chimney," Wolfe said. "We're going to use the rocks salvaged from the old cabin, cut them, and line the interior of the fireplace with them."
The cabin fund-raising banquet at Mazatzal Casino Saturday evening netted $8,500, Wolfe said.