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About Us

Friends of the Abbie Gardner Cabin Historic Site, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) organization, intends to lead a preservation effort with guidance from the Iowa Cultural Affairs Department.  


A formal launch took place on March 8, 2022.  That date marked the 165th Anniversary of the clash of cultures that had consequences which led to conciliation that turned this event into a magnificent commemoration of pioneer history! 


Meet Our Board Members

The Friends of the Abbie Gardner Cabin Historic Site board members are volunteers committed to the preservation of the site and its rich history. 

Anita Bomgaars - President

Mary Thunhorst - Secretary/Treasurer

Kim Lauridsen-Jones

Tim Kinnetz - Vice President

John Franken

Mary Dreier

Ed Purdy

Friends Organization Beginnings

It all began with a neighborhood walk around the Abbie Gardner cabin site.  Anita Bomgaars, area resident,  had been doing research on Abbie’s story and needed a break from writing so she walked the sidewalk leading from her house to Arnolds Park.  As she reflected on Abbie’s amazing story, she glanced at the cabin site.  Anita noted that the original cabin appeared to be in a precarious state of repair and made note to contact the current owners, the State of Iowa, about the situation.  Soon word spread in the Lakes region and not only did the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs get alerted into action, area residents contacted Anita inquiring about assisting with the project.  Hence the Friends of the Abbie Gardner Historic Cabin Site was formed. 


An executive committee was fashioned from the greater Friends group and legal measures were taken by the committee to be recognized by the State of Iowa.  Legally finding a home under the auspices of the non-profit, Spirit of Okoboji, umbrella the Friends group is actively working with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs to have the site evaluated for renovation and begin future planning to enhance or replace the current visitor’s center. 


Stay tuned or better yet, join us for the journey ahead!

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