Proenneke's Cabin

man kneeling at the open door of a log cabin covered in snow

Proenneke at his cabin

NPS photo taken by Richard Proenneke and donated by Raymond Proenneke

Cabin at Twin Lakes

Now the centerpiece of a National Register Historic Site, Richard Proenneke built his cabin from 1967 - 1968.

Richard Proenneke's cabin was neither the first nor the largest ever built in the Alaskan Bush. However, it stands out for two reasons:

  • his remarkable craftsmanship in building it
  • the fact that he filmed the entire construction process.
He built the cabin using only hand tools. For many of these, he brought in steel parts and made the handles with local wood. When tools broke, he chose to repair them, rather than to buy new replacements.

Richard Proenneke is an example of self-reliance and independence. Only a person of extraordinary energy could have lived the life he chose. Despite his remote location, he maintained many friendships and wrote back to anyone who sent him a letter. He saw his correspondence, films and journals as a way to share a life untethered to the commercial world. Though fiercely independent, he was not a hermit.

Dick's book One Man's Wilderness and video 'Alone in the Wilderness' give a complete account of his first year at Twin Lakes. His journals form the basis of several other books and videos:

  • The Early Years: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1967-1973
  • More Readings from One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1974-1980.
  • 'Alone in the Wilderness - Part II'
  • 'Silence and Solitude'
  • 'The Frozen North'

You can purchase these books and videos through our non-profit partner, Alaska Geographic.

Did You Know?