The public was first introduced to Heller Cabin in October 2009.
Its addition to Cowtown was especially significant because it is considered as one of the top 10 intact structures in the United States from the settlement period. It is also one of Cowtown's best documented properties because it was photographed, measured and sketched and all of its parts were numbered before it was dismantled and brought here.
The top 10 ranking was given to the cabin by Douglass C. Reed of Preservation Associates in Hagerstown, Maryland, who originally assessed the structure in 2002. Reed is a nationally known preservationist, author and historian on the subject.
Historic Wichita Cowtown, Inc. funded and oversaw efforts to move Heller Cabin from Elmo, Kansas to Cowtown and return it as closely as possible to its original state.
The 1870s cabin, located just behind the Visitor's Center, was donated to Cowtown by the estate of Wichita resident Donna B. Heller. As part of the restoration process that began in April 2009, rotten logs were replaced, open areas between the logs were filled and historically accurate interior features were added.
Heller Cabin was built by Civil War veteran Leonhard Hoffman, who expertly cut and pieced the logs together. It's an artifact that will appeal directly to those who are interested in log construction. Aspects of its construction, including notching and flooring, are different from that of Cowtown's Munger House or the Trapper's Cabin, both of which are log cabins built during the same time period in Sedgwick County.