Fifty years ago Lee Harvey Oswald's wife and infant daughter lived in a little ranch house. The city of Irving is now turning it into a museum.
Ruth Paine owned and lived in the house. She was a mother with young children and marital problems, so she welcomed Marina Oswald. Lee Oswald was living in a rooming house in Oak Cliff at the time and only visited on the weekends.
But the home was where Marina gave her first TV interview to Channel 4 in the days after the assassination.
"Do you believe you husband killed President Kennedy?" asked Eddie Barker.
"I don't want to believe, but I have too much facts and facts tell that Lee shot Kennedy," Marina replied.
Paine sold the house long ago and now lives in a Quaker retirement home in California, but has vivid memories.
She remembers turning on the TV in the house to watch the president arrive at Love Field and speak at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
"It really feels strange that it's been 50 years," she said.
The city of Irving now owns the house and plans to turn it into a museum.
David Hernandez heads up the crew restoring and recreating, working off pictures Paine provided.
"Ruth has been a really big help to us in getting the house put back to its 1963 condition," he said.
Kevin Kendro said there have been many challenges, like a big picture window that had to be custom made.
"They were very common in the 1950s in a ranch style house, but they're not common at all anymore," he said.
The garage is historically significant because it's where police allegedly found Lee Oswald's rifle wrapped up in a blanket.
"One of the policemen asked me whether Lee had a gun. And I said no but translated it to Marina who said yes he did. And she led them into the garage and showed the blanket roll where she thought the gun was," Paine said.
She and Marina saw little of each other after the assassination and haven't communicated in years.
"The main thing that we had in common was the terrible thing that happened," Paine said. "It just seems like a long time ago and I've lived a couple of lifetimes since. And yet the memory of those days remains very, very real."
Kendro said the city wants the museum to tell the story from Paine's point of view. It's a human-sized story that was part of a gigantic event.
"Putting the kids down for a nap and at 3 o'clock the police are at your door," he said.
205 N. Michigan Avenue
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