Zane Grey first came to Rim Country in 1918. Two things happened: One, he met Babe Haught and the rest of the Haught family and; two, he fell in love with the area. By 1921 he had his “lodge” under the Rim and came, most years, in the fall to hunt and write until 1929. In 1929 he brought a film crew to Rim Country to film a bear hunt, apparently unaware that the hunting season had been changed. He attempted to get a special license but was denied. This disagreement led Grey to vow to never return to Arizona. The cabin was left abandoned for over 30 years. For several years Babe and Elma “Ellie” Haught looked after the cabin and Ellie continued to look after it even after Babe died until she was no longer able to spend the summers at their cabin. Eventually, time, the elements, and vandalism, reduced the cabin to a tattered shell.
In 1963, Bill Goettl purchased the cabin and restored it with the intention of turning it into a summer place for his family. When Mr. Goettl died, his family turned it into a private museum. When people say they have seen the “original” cabin, this is generally the one they are talking about.
In June of 1990 the Dude Fire burned the cabin to the ground along with 58 other homes, 28,000 acres of forest and, most tragically, took the lives of six firefighters (see page on the Dude Fire). Over the years some attempts were made to acquire the property but in 1998 a partnership purchased a large parcel of land, including the site of the cabin, and began to subdivide it. The Zane Grey Cabin Foundation was organized, with Dick Wolfe as president, and this organization led a successful campaign to raise the funds necessary to build a replica cabin on property owned by the Northern Gila County Historical Society, Inc. The replica is a faithful copy of the original made from local Ponderosa pine trees. The replica was dedicated in 2005.
We would like to publicly thank all members of the board of the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation and all others who were involved with this project for making it possible for so many people to renew their acquaintance with Zane Grey’s life and writings and for others to be introduced to the master of the American western.
Zane Grey Cabin Foundation Board:
Dick Wolfe, President
Conrad Okerwall, 2nd Vice President
Marilyn Wolfe, Treasurer
Beth Lynch Counceller, first Vice President
Barbara Gustafson, Secretary