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Nunns celebrate 100 years on the lake

DETROIT LAKES - When G.C. Nunn purchased and built a summer cabin on Detroit Lake, he was simply doing it for his family to enjoy their summertime.

His descendants are still enjoying that cabin -- along with another one built a few years later -- and this weekend are celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the property. It still remains in the family, owned by five of his granddaughters.

"It's more years than Grandpa could have even imagined," Carolyn Hoyme said of the land being in the family 100 years. She, along with her sisters, Marlys Reimler and Jean Paisley, and cousins Mary Jo Suttie and Beth Marvin, own the property -- called the Nunnery.

G.C. Nunn was a pioneer of early Detroit Lakes -- then called Detroit. He ran a harness business in town, and his legacy can still be seen on the three-story portion of the Washington Square Mall, his name cemented into the face of the building.

After his harness maker apprenticeship, Nunn came to Detroit Lakes for work. He didn't have money to start his own business at that point, so he went to work for A.A. Whittemore, the contractor in charge of building the new courthouse in Detroit Lakes.

The Whittemore family and Nunn attended the same church -- the Methodist Church that was purchased by the Berean Baptist and torn down earlier this year after being sold to the county.

It was during this time that Nunn met Whittemore's daughter, Mary. They eventually married and lived in Detroit Lakes.

When the new courthouse was completed, Nunn purchased the old courthouse and turned it into his harness shop.

A fire leveled a portion of Washington Avenue in Detroit Lakes, including Nunn's business. He rebuilt the business, the three-story portion of the Washington Square Mall.

In 1908, he built a cabin on his lake property, and built a second one in 1916. This weekend, about 100 family members throughout the United States are coming to the Nunnery to join in a celebration of the property and family heritage.

Relatives from California, Arizona, Georgia, Texas and South Dakota will be there.

"They're just coming from all over," Suttie said. "We're hoping for nice weather."

Suttie and Hoyme can sit down and give numerous accounts of their summer visits to the Point -- the Nunn property.

Activities included everything from roasting marshmallows over the stove to climbing trees. A particular subject that brings a laugh to both of them is the cousins going down to Long Bridge, sitting under the bridge and tormenting fishermen by pulling on their lines or even cutting them. They both remember getting in trouble, as well.

"We'd put on plays in the summer in the yard or in front of the fireplace," Suttie added.

"We grew up here. We spent every summer of our lives here. And it was wonderful. We got along great. We had wonderful times," Hoyme said of the cousins.

The Nunn property celebration will include a presentation of history, hymns, prayers, memorials for Nunn and the family veterans and a brunch.

"We're excited so many (relatives) are able to come back, even for a couple days," Suttie said. "It's going to be fun."

"We love this property," Hoyme added. "It's wonderful."