The two Spunner women purchased Gunflint which was a very small lodge building with a store carrying supplies for the Indians and fishing tackle for the guests, plus a dining room to serve meals. They also bought three log guest cabins, an owner’s cabin, and a small staff cabin. The resort had neither indoor plumbing nor electric service. Telephone service was also a dream for the future.
Justine wrote about the immediate improvements her mother made. “Mother made arrangements locally to enlarge the lodge by having an extension built on one side complete with a large fireplace for a lounge and an extension built on the other side with a fireplace and dining room. This also called for changes in the kitchen. Beside the changes in the lodge structure, George Bayle was hired to build tables and chairs from local trees – primarily birch that furnished the new additions. All of the table tops were mounted on large roots.” An indication of Mrs. Spunner’s priorities at that time is shown by the fact that both of these additions faced the incoming road, not the lake. Two more cabins and a boat house were also added at this time.
The summer of 1929 was the two women’s first season at Gunflint. Mrs. Spunner acted as the resort hostess, wrote the correspondence, planned the meals and supervised the staff. Justine ordered the supplies, paid the bills, and kept the equipment in good repair. Keeping equipment in repair was a new experience for Justine. When asked how she learned to fix motors, Justine replied, “I took them apart and looked at them.”