In 2002, Elsie Martin purchased the cabin featured in the movie "Fargo." The most common question she gets asked about her vacation home? "No," said Martin, "the cabin did not come with the wood chipper."
The Brooklyn Center resident bought the cabin on eBay for $10,000 after the original owners from Stillwater decided to remove it from its location near Square Lake in Marine on St. Croix so they could build their dream home. Martin had the 720-square-foot cabin moved 150 miles via semitrailer truck to Barnes, Wis., north of Hayward, a two-week trek. To Martin's surprise, the move occurred one day earlier than she expected. "There was a lot of publicity about the sale, and the mover wanted to avoid the publicity," she said. "He was a little shy."
Prior to the move, Martin made arrangements for building a road to the property, a basement for a walkout, a septic system, a well and electrical hookups. The cabin itself needed plumbing and a new roof. After seven years, the cabin of dubious distinction is a work in progress. Insulation, new siding, heating and a deck are on the to-do list. A staircase between the first floor and the basement was recently added so the family and guests don't have to walk outside to get to the first level.
Martin has put an additional $50,000 into the cabin since the move, including $10,000 for a walkout basement.
One reason why the cabin appealed to Martin was that she already had the land for it. It's part of a larger 40-acre parcel between two lakes that her parents have owned since 1949. Her brother and sister also have their own cabins.
Martin is fascinated by "Fargo," but she thinks the Coen brothers' movie has too much swearing in it. Her family plays the video in the cabin and has fun pointing out the shelves or refrigerator and especially the stove the characters sat in front of when plotting the murder. Martin has kept all of the furnishings intact.
Originally, Martin won the bidding on eBay at $6,000 but then discovered she had not met the minimum. When it was relisted, the bidding was between $8,000 and $9,000. Martin waited until the last second to avoid a bidding war. Although she has no plans to rent it out, she recently purchased the domain name Fargocabin.com.
John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633