Thursday, September 1, 2016

Cherokee Councilor Hopes Cabin Will Re-open Soon

“Sooner than later.” That is when Bryan Warner, Cherokee Nation District 6 Tribal Council member, hopes the Cherokee Nation will take control of the Sequoyah’s Cabin historical site.

Sequoyah’s Cabin, owned by the Oklahoma Historical Society, was closed on Thursday. Society officials have been wrestling with state budget cuts, and because of the loss of funding, Sequoyah County’s premier historical site was closed on Sept. 1. Site Manager Jerry Dobbs voluntarily retired, and a maintenance worker was let go.

Society officials said they are working with a “partner” to keep the site open, but declined to name the partner.

The purchasing partner is the Cherokee Nation, Warner confirmed. An appraiser was at the site on Thursday in preparation for the sale.

Warner said he isn’t sure when the sale will be complete and the tribe will take over.

“I don’t know an exact time line,” Warner said Thursday morning. “We’re waiting on them for some paperwork. I hate to put a date on it. I’m hopeful it will be really soon.”

Warner is also hopeful that Dobbs, who was been at Sequoyah’s Cabin for 27 years, can continue as site manager.

Dobbs was at the site on Thursday to assist the appraiser, even though his last official day was Aug. 31.

“I’m not working, but I’m working,” Dobbs quipped.

Dobbs said he did as instructed by the historical society and locked the gates and hung up the closed sign, but had to reopen for the appraiser. The site will also be open on Sunday for the Blair family reunion, Warner confirmed.

Dobbs said he did not think the historical society, if it keeps the site, will keep it closed.

“Over the past four years they have put $400,000 of improvements into the site,” he said. “They improved and enlarged the parking lot and built the sidewalks.”

Kathy Dickson, the society’s historical programs administrator, said last week, “We will not walk away from it.”

Warner said the site includes between 180 and 200 acres, and said he couldn’t even guess at its appraised value.

But he questioned, “I don’t know why they didn’t just give it to us 20 years ago.”

Warner said, “We are not going to let it go. I think we could plan to do some things out there to make it even better.”

The site’s web site informs visitors that Sequoyah built the one-room log cabin in 1829 shortly after moving to Oklahoma. The cabin became the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1936, and the cabin was enclosed in a stone cover building as a project of the Works Progress Administration. In 1965 the Secretary of the Interior designated the site as a National Historical Landmark.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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