The John Wayne Birthplace Society is hoping to expand a complex that includes the tiny Victorian house in Winterset, Iowa, where the Oscar-winning actor (“True Grit”) was born Marion Morrison on May 26, 1907.
His family lived in the four-room house until he was 3. They then moved 12 miles north to Earlham for three years, then on to California, where the legend of John Wayne was born.
The man who owned the Winterset house died in 1980, and the Winterset Chamber of Commerce bought it for $22,500, said David Trask, society chairman. Trask said the chamber used it as its own offices until people started stopping by wanting to see where Wayne was born.
A welcome center and gift shop were added, and the birthplace now draws about 40,000 visitors a year. The Birthplace Society has obtained the lot next door and is planning a $2-million to $3-million expansion.
From Associated Press