Ruth Paine House Museum set to open in Dallas area city

The Ruth Paine House opens this week as a museum. Photo: Todd DeFeo

IRVING, Texas, Nov. 5, 2013 — The Ruth Paine House, the Dallas-area home where Lee Harvey Oswald stayed the night before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, opens this week as a museum.

On Nov. 21, 1963, Oswald surprised his wife, Marina, and the couple’s two children who were staying at the home with friend Ruth Paine.

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As he left the next morning, according to investigators, Oswald grabbed his Carcano rifle from the garage. He then went to his job at the Texas School Book Depository, which Paine helped him secure, and into the annals of history.

“The whole story is now kind of larger than life,” The Associated Press quoted Kevin Kendro, archives coordinator for the city of Irving, as saying. “It started here in a little house where average stuff was going on.”

Over the past 50 years, a number of residents have lived in the house, but it hasn’t stopped those interested in the assassination from stopping by to see and photograph the house.

The city purchased the house in 2009 for $175,000 and has spent $30,000 on work to restore it to its 1963 appearance. City crews repaired the house’s original cabinets, rebuilt a telephone stand and had picture windows re-fabricated.

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“We want to show this small part of the events from an individual, human perspective in a way that people come away with a feeling of how serendipitous life can be,” Kendro told Sightseers’ Delight earlier this year. “One minute you’re a suburban mom dealing with everyday problems and the next you’re at the center of tragic, historic events.”

The museum tells the story of what happened inside this house using video projections of actors. City officials turned to the Irving Museum Advisory Board to help develop a plan for the museum.

“They decided that they would like to tell the story of how a suburban Irving housewife raising her two children was suddenly swept into the center of one of the most historic events of the 20th Century,” Kendro told Sightseers’ Delight. “So, we want to use the house to tell Ruth Paine’s story, her life in Irving, her befriending of Marina Oswald, her interactions with Lee Oswald and the sudden life changing events that followed.”

The new museum is located a couple of miles from downtown Irving. Visitors will be shuttled from a nearby visitor’s center to the house, which sits along a quiet residential street.

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Paine, 81, lives in California and is expected to be on hand for the museum’s opening.

“Sure, it’s painful to come back,” Paine said on Monday, according to a CBS report in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Mixed memories of this house, I think would be the right thing. It was a great place for little kids.”


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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.


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