The old Mark Twain cabin off Highway 49 on Jackass Hill Road in Tuolumne County will soon be torn down and rebuilt.
In a project spearheaded by the Sonora Sunrise Rotary Club, the replica of the original 1800´s wooden cabin — now in a state of decay, will be rebuilt back to original condition.
County supervisors Tuesday gave the Rotary the final go-ahead on the totally volunteer project.
Jerry Kahl, with the Sunrise Rotary, says anyone from the community is welcome to help on the project.
“Right now were looking at forming work parties from our club, but I´m not going to turn down anybody who wants to donate time and effort to a worthy project like that,” Kahl says.
The cabin was last restored in the 1920´s by the Sonora Lions club. Kahl says while looking for a community project, someone mentioned the Mark Twain cabin. When he went out to take a peek, he says the place was a mess.
“We shouldn´t lose this part of history that we´ve got,” Kahl says.
The original cabin cost $150 to build. Working on the project, local Architect Don Grover says so far $15,000 has been dedicated to the Rotary for building materials. Labor and other site work will be donated.
All the lumber has to be “re-sawn” to match the true dimensions of the sugar pine wood used in the original structure – when a 2×4 measured 2-inches by 4-inches, Grover says.
This special work raises the price of materials significantly, Grover says. It will cost $600 dollars just for the special shingles to re-roof the small cabin.
Materials removed from the cabin during demolition will be used as templates to re-cut new timbers to the original shapes. Stones that will be unearthed beneath the old cabin will be used again to support the structure´s foundation.
Once the cabin site is completed, it will feature interpretative signs and plaques for visitors to read and get more of a flavor for it´s rich history.
“Right now there´s very little information that´s given about the cabin and its original location,” Grover says. “We want to give a little more history so people can learn more about the cabin and what Mark Twain´s involvement was in it.”
Kahl hopes to see the cabin back in place by June of next year, but he says they want to get going on it as soon as possible. “It´s been in the planning stage for months and months and months,” he says.
Visitors to the cabin site should have plenty to see during all phases of the rehabilitation work.