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Artist gives 'cabin fever' new meaning

TALENT — If you want to visit Zane Grey's historic cabin, you don't have to brave the lower Rogue River's white water on the way to Winkle Bar.

Just drop in at the Talent Arts & Music Festival between 5 and 8 p.m. tonight.

The Zane Grey cabin, a crude one-room structure with peeled logs and a shingle roof built in the mid-1920s, will be one of the model replicas of historic cabins on display, all created by Jewel Donaca Lockard, 83, of Talent.

"I've never been down the Rogue River there — I just copied it from a photograph," Lockard said. "I read lots of his books so I wanted to make it."

A half-dozen of her models of historic cabins will be at the Talent Historical Museum, 105 North Market St., Talent.

The festival is a celebration of local art and music along with food and drink in downtown Talent, largely along Main Street. Talent Avenue and Valley View Road.

In addition to the Zane Grey cabin, which includes two raccoons on the front porch, Lockard's models to be displayed include the Anderson Butte fire lookout, the Beeson cabin and others, even a replica of a cabin seen on Bonanza, a TV western from the 1960s.

Her cabin models capture the rustic structures commonly found in the region when Lockard arrived in Talent as a little girl more than 80 years ago, said Talent historian Jan Wright.

"Jewel has a wonderful memory, and cabins are one of her favorite things," Wright said. "As a young girl she would wander around the hills outside of Talent and sketch them. Her drawings are also wonderful. She is a very meticulous artist."

Born in Horton, a now largely abandoned hamlet between Eugene and Florence, Lockard arrived in Talent with her parents during the Great Depression.

"We moved to Talent and $7 a month was too much rent," she said. "My parents traded their Essex (car) for this property."

She was referring to her family's home where she has a collection of cabin models she has made over the years.

"I started doing these cabins about 30 years ago," she said. "My kids didn't hardly know what a log cabin was so I wanted to show them."

Lockard, who worked for the Phoenix School District and in a local laundry for years, builds the models from scratch.

"I go out in the woods and get logs for them and peel them," she said.

Logs being relative in this case since the cabin logs aren't much thicker than pencils.

"You do these just like you were going to build a house," she said of her models. "You gotta get your foundation down. They take work, I can tell you that. Everything is made from scratch."

That includes a miniature chicken yard and a barn filled with animals. There is even a replica of a family graveyard.

"I saw that cemetery when I was traveling in Montana," she said. "It was up on the hill back in the woods. There had been an old ranch there. So I got the idea of doing that one."

But mainly she sticks with cabins.

"This was after a cabin that was up one of these canyons for years and years," she said of one model. "Of course, it is all gone now."

"And this one is a two-story outhouse," she said proudly, lifting up a model that depicts one privy stacked atop another.

"The gentlemen used up above and the low-class rabble used the bottom part," she explained. "I saw one just like it in Nevada City, Mont. It was so unusual I had my picture taken in front of it."

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or email him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.

This model of Zane Grey’s cabin on the Rogue River is among a half-dozen that will be on display at the Talent Arts & Music Festival tonight. - Jan Wright