Originally published Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 11:35a.m.

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The complete preservation of the oldest historic building in Grand Canyon National Park has garnered a 2019 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award.

Key to the success of the preservation were preservation carpentry skills of Williams residents Audey Eckel and Tell Eckel — a father and son team who both are employed by Loven Contracting, out of Flagstaff, Arizona.

“It is such a privilege to contribute to the preservation of our National Historic Landmarks” said Brett Woods, Loven Contracting’s senior project manager. "I’ve been working in National Parks for my whole life, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

About the Buckey O'Neill cabin

Buckey O’Neill was a key contributor to Arizona and US National history, including as member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, former mayor of Prescott, Arizona, and reporter for the Tombstone Epitaph. The famous Rough Rider Monument, depicting O’Neill on his horse, can be found in Prescott, AZ’s Courthouse plaza.

O’Neill’s Cabin, built just feet from the rim of the Grand Canyon, circa 1890, has been in constant use as a part of Grand Canyon National Park’s tourist operations since 1898.

Prior to preservation, the cabin structure was at significant risk due to compromised structural members — from water damage, previous insect infestation, poor drainage, an end of life roof and the absence of eaves, gutters and downspouts. Additionally, existing windows, doors, frames and external paint were not historically appropriate.

A multi-disciplinary team, including a Service Historical Architect, Xanterra Engineering, and Loven Contracting, was formed with the following goals:

— To ensure the cabin's integrity for the next 129 years and beyond;

— To return the cabin to a condition reflective of its appearance in 1935, when it was purchased by the Fred Harvey Company and incorporated into the Mary Colter-designed Historic Bright Angel Cabins and Lodge Complex and

To complete this preservation in a manner worthy of an iconic national landmark, utilizing best-in-class information, analysis, and construction techniques, while adhering to NPS Historic Preservation guidelines.

This team, in partnership with Page and Turnbull Architects and the University of Delaware, undertook an extensive preservation process, including painstaking materials matching, modification of contemporary tools to more accurately replicate the marks made by Buckey O’Neill during the original construction, and diligent documentation of every step.

The Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Awards will be formally presented on June 13, at the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference in Prescott, Arizona.

Founded in 1985, Loven Contracting works across the Southwest, specializing in the healthcare, education, commercial, hospitality, and historic preservation sectors. Loven Contracting’s goal is to deliver a project of superior quality while exceeding client expectations for excellence, customer service and best value.

Information provided by Loven Contracting.

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