Round Tower at Ft Snelling was a '' lovely residence ' to raised in – Minneapolis Star Tribune

At 96, Nina Marcum’s memory as well as viewpoints are as sharp as her Wii bowling game.

“I racked up a 177 yesterday and also ruined at the end or I may have reached my document of 201,” she claimed from her home in Edina.

Her trick to memory retention? “Just lucky, I think.” We’re all lucky, as a matter of fact, due to the fact that Nina Marcum is the last living person which as soon as called Ft Snelling’s famous Round Tower her home.

“I was upset when they made us vacate in 1938 so they could make a whole museum from exactly what had actually been a charming home,” she claimed. “They trashed it and also made it an unpleasant looking place, do not you think? I’m type of embarrassed and have not been back given that I don’t know how long.”.

Nina was the 4th of 5 children of the late Fort Snelling electrical expert Thomas E. Marcum. When he landed the work in 1918, the Fort had no real estate for married couples. So the electrical expert transformed the aged Round Tower, a key frontier armed forces outpost going back to 1820 on the high bluff where the Minnesota as well as Mississippi streams assemble.

” [It’s] probably the most significant spots in the entire record of Minnesota and the Northwest,” longtime Minnesota Historic Society Director Russell Fridley wrote in 1956.

Over the past 210 years, the ft’s perch has actually housed 1805 traveler Zebulon Pike, servant and failed Supreme Court plaintiff Dred Scott, 2 Dakota executions in 1865, many school school trip– and Nina Marcum. Her younger sibling, Bob, was obliterated over Berlin in 1944. Her three older brother or sisters– Thelma, Abrilia and James– have passed on, too.

That leaves Nina (noticable NINE-ah), which moved right into the Round Tower when she was a few months aged in 1919. “I was born in the bed of our duplex close by and also the entire thing cost $5,” she said.

Girlhood was ideal in her household’s limestone castle. “It was a charming residence and also large sufficient you really did not seem like you were residing in a circle,” she claimed.

Ft employees ironed their sheets. “There was a bakery that marketed us one-pound loaves of bread for 2 cents,” she stated.

Her dad dug a fishing pond in their large front lawn.

“There were no vehicles hurrying by and also, at the end of the block, the streetcar would take us to a pool,” she stated.

Her Kentucky-born papa wired the location up with all the current electrical devices. “We had 2 phones and an electrical range before anybody had power,” Nina said.

Baseding on an impressed 1926 newspaper press reporter: “This squat little citadel, with its middle ages loopholes for defensive rifle shooting, is now a state-of-the-art residence covered with radio antennae generating the unnoticeable information of the globe.”.

Nina’s mommy, Bessie, the tale went on to report, stashed her jams as well as jellies “in the triangular recesses in the thick stone walls that flare from narrow porthole slits, made to shoot via. … [She] presses an electric button or transforms an electric switch to run her electrical oven, her iron, her waffle iron, her toaster, sewing machine, curling iron, vacuum cleaner, percolator, heater, washing device and also water heating system, not to mention diverse floor lamps as well as table lights.”.

After investing her very first 19 years in the Round Tower, Nina and her family members vacated when her father landed a task in Omaha– and state chroniclers topped years of talk and also determined to make the ft a museum with the Round Tower as its main icon.

The armed forces given maintenance up until severing incorporate 1946, forcing the museum to shut for 18 years till the Historic Culture reopened the ft in 1964 amidst a large restoration.

When she left, Nina had simply finished from St. Paul Central Senior high school in 1937 as well as would go on to the University of Minnesota as well as a long profession in Washington as a secretary for an Air Force general. “My yearly salary went from $1,000 to $12,000 in Three Decade,” claimed Nina, whose stock exchange acumen nicely increased that federal government pay.

Nina had no kids, but stays close with her numerous nieces, nephews and also their spawn.

“She provides a little vindication for all of us who would certainly tell the tale of our grandparents maturing in the Fort Snelling Round Tower at show and inform in school, only to have educators as well as schoolmates insist that didn’t take place,” stated Bob Marcum, a nephew from small Lawler, Minn., in Aitkin Region.

Leslie Marcum, 58, recollects seeing the Record Facility lobby years ago and seeing a photo of her great-grandmother in the family’s pie-shaped residence. She has accumulated a documents of historic documents ever since.

And 77 years after they were evicted, Nina Marcum prepares to let bygones be bygones.

“My papa was a quite clever guy and he made it habitable,” she stated. “I occasionally ask people if they’ve ever consulted the museum and smile. I prepare to head out there real soon.”
Curt Brown’s story on Minnesota’s past history appears each Sunday. Visitors could send him suggestions as well as recommendations at

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