- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Inmates from the Missouri River Correctional Center in Bismarck are have been cutting logs that will be used to build a replica of former President Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn ranch cabin in Dickinson.

Six semitrailer loads of logs from downed cottonwood trees were hauled this past week to Dickinson, the Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1UkcyxF ).

The project is part of a presidential library and museum project in the conceptual and development stage.

Jim Kelly, CEO of the presidential library project, said having the logs delivered to the 27-acre site gives it a tangible reality. Planners will gather all available documentation of Roosevelt’s cabin to create as authentic a replica as possible.

“We’ll be hand-adzing the logs and fashioning them into 1-foot by 1-foot square logs between 30 and 60 feet long,” Kelly said. “There’ll be little use of power tools.”

The cabin was built from 1844-45 on Roosevelt’s cattle ranch along the Little Missouri River northwest of Medora.

Loren Haid, the correctional center’s plant director, said the trees had to go anyway, so it was serendipitous that they’re being used on the cabin project.

“The inmates did the majority of the work, and it was hard work,” Haid said. “We saved taxpayer money doing it in-house, and it was a good project for the inmates.”

Most of the trees were in the 1- to 2-foot diameter range, but a few 4-foot-diameter trees were likely saplings during Roosevelt’s time in the Badlands in the 1880s.

Kelly said construction won’t start immediately, and a call will go out to Little Missouri River ranchers to contribute additional heritage cottonwood trees.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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