By Associated Press - Saturday, June 24, 2017

DONNELLSON, Iowa (AP) - A replica of an Iowa native’s Alaska wilderness cabin is being built in a southeastern Iowa city.

Craftsmen Pat and Denna Beelman are building a life-size replica of Richard Proenneke’s wood cabin in the new Donnellson Public Library, The Hawk Eye ( ) reported.

Proenneke was born in Primrose, northwest of Donnellson, in 1916. After he turned 50, he spent 30 years living in a log cabin he constructed using only hand tools in Twin Lakes, Alaska. Following his time in Alaska, he visited Iowa yearly to give talks and show footage of his experience to students.

“If you study what has happened to him along the way, it is not really hard for me to see how he ended up in Twin Lakes wanting to test himself about what life was really all about and how fragile life is,” said Brie Anderson, of the Richard Proenneke committee and head of the museum project.

Proenneke’s brother died when he was 12 years old. Proenneke later joined the U.S. Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor, only to be medically discharged after he contracted rheumatic fever. A molten lead accident damaged his eyes when he was 50 and motivated him to move to Alaska and live off the land.

He died in 2003. The library plans to display artifacts and replicas from his life to help continue his legacy of teaching people.

The project is estimated to cost between $35,000 and $40,000. The free museum will open during the library’s grand opening in September.


Information from: The Hawk Eye,

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