Historic cabin's restoration completed at Cowtown

WICHITA — Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer will be presented a key to one of the oldest buildings in Wichita on Saturday as part of a ceremony at Old Cowtown Museum.

The event marks the completion of five months of restoration work on the museum's 140-year-old Heller Cabin, now the museum's newest store and stagecoach shop.

The cabin now becomes the first building visitors will see as they tour the 1870s-era living-history complex.

The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. at the cabin.

"The addition of Heller Cabin at Cowtown is especially significant because it is considered as one of the top 10 intact structures in the United States from the settlement period," said David Flask, Cowtown executive director.

The top 10 ranking was given to the cabin by Douglass C. Reed of Preservation Associates in Hagerstown, Md., who originally assessed the structure in 2002.

The cabin was built by Civil War veteran Leonhard Hoffman, who settled in Dickinson County in the late 1860s.

It was later owned by Donna Heller, who lived in Wichita until her death in 2000. Prior to her death, she donated the cabin to Old Cowtown.

It was moved to Cowtown in 2002 and sat until last spring surrounded in bubble wrap at the complex's back entrance.

The Cowtown board funded and oversaw efforts to move the cabin and return it to its original state.