Day Trips: Ruth Paine House Museum, Irving

At first it might seem rather macabre to visit the house where the accused Lee Harvey Oswald spent his last night of freedom


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Ruth Paine House Museum in Irving tells a little-known side story to the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

At first it might seem rather macabre to visit the house where the accused Lee Harvey Oswald spent his last night of freedom. But within these walls was also a compassionate woman caught in a horrible web.

Ruth and Michael Paine purchased the house off Story Road for $6,000 soon after it was built. By 1962, the couple were estranged but friendly. Ruth lived in the house with her two children.


Ruth met Marina Oswald at a party in April 1963, and became friends with the Russian immigrant and her unemployed husband. For the next eight months the pregnant Mrs. Oswald and her daughter shared Ruth's two-bedroom house.

Lee found a job at the Texas School Book Depository in downtown Dallas. He usually stayed in a boarding house in Oak Cliff, but visited Marina on Nov. 21 to pick up "curtain rods." The next day a knock on Ruth's front door changed her life forever. She had offered a friend Quaker hospitality and was repaid with the international spotlight.

We know a lot about Ruth from news stories and her testimony. The house is remarkably re-created. The curators have also reconstructed the lives of the people, even using holograms to tell their stories in their own words.


"If only I had known there was a gun," Ruth testified. "Maybe I could have done something to stop him."

The Ruth Paine House Museum is owned by the City of Irving. Tours are weekdays at 10am, noon, 2pm, and 4pm starting from the visitors' center at 801 W. Irving Blvd. Reser­vations are recommended: 972/721-3729 or cityofirving.rezgo.com.


1,373rd in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Day Trips
Day Trips: The Cistern, Houston
Day Trips: The Cistern, Houston
Houston’s former underground reservoir perfect canvas for light artist

Gerald E. McLeod, May 25, 2018

Day Trips: Coupland Inn and Dance Hall
Day Trips: Coupland Inn and Dance Hall
Something’s new at the old dance hall and eatery

Gerald E. McLeod, May 18, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ruth Paine House Museum, JFK assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald, Marina Oswald

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle