Nan Nelson Interview, November 16, 2001


Nan Nelson


Suzanne M. Vernon



Download Audio Interview (76.7 MB)

Download Transcript of Nan Nelson Interview (254 KB)


Nan Nelson describes her life with her husband Mel Nelson, until his death from cancer in 1992. She recalls how they met in Tacoma, Washington and eloped in 1942 to Swan Valley, Montana, when they were both 17. She talks about spending that summer learning to live in the semi-wilderness and working odd jobs. Nelson discusses how Mel was drafted into the Army the following spring and served in Europe for the duration of World War Two as a soldier and a mechanic. She tells how, following the war, the couple lived more or less in Tacoma until 1972, when they bought a grocery store and gas station from Mel’s stepfather Andy Korpa in Swan Valley. She describes how they ran the grocery store together for almost 20 years and also opened an airstrip and airplane garage.


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Document Type

Oral History


Swan Valley, Montana; Tacoma Washington; Wilderness, Montana; Camping; World War, 1939-1945; U.S. military; Grocery stores, Montana; Gas stations, Montana; Air strip, Swan Valley, Montana

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Upper Swan Valley Oral History Project, OH 422, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 422-071

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (9 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:02:47 minutes

Local Filename

OH_422_071.mp3; OH_422_071.pdf

Nan Nelson Interview, November 16, 2001