Theodore Roosevelt is finally getting a presidential library. It will be in North Dakota!

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The rigorously authentic Elkhorn Ranch re-creation will be the centerpiece of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. So far, they have $15 million committed from the state and the city of Dickinson toward an estimated $85 million project. Its organizers hope to open the complex — which they project could draw 300,000 visitors or more annually — on the 27-acre site in time for the centennial of Roosevelt's death on Jan. 6, 1919.

They concede it will be a heavy lift, literally and metaphorically. And they are undaunted.

"The presidential library will be a facility we can be immensely proud of, it will bring many people to Dickinson and we will create something that will endure," said Dr. Bruce Pitts, a retired Fargo physician and board chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. He knows a two-year timeline is perhaps overly ambitious, but the board is in the process of hiring a national fundraising and marketing outfit and an architect.

"The biggest mistake is to think too small. This is Theodore Roosevelt after all, not Millard Fillmore," said author and scholar Clay Jenkinson. The Dickinson native is head cheerleader and a walking encyclopedia of Theodore Roosevelt's life. He can quote long sections of the 26th president's speeches by memory and portrays on stage the Rough Rider in period costume with teeth-snapping, fist-pounding swagger. His mellifluous voice and erudition are familiar to viewers of Ken Burns' documentaries.

Read entire article at Albany Times Union

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