Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Literary Locals: June 2010

For this month's Literary Locals, I am going to take a little trip back in time!  I am going to travel back a few years when I was able to visit the home of one of my all-time favorite author's as a child . . . Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Growing up, I read Little House in the Big Woods over and over and over again.  I watched religiously Little House on the Prairie on TV, starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert.  When I had the opportunity to visit the home of Wilder, the place where The Little House books were written, I could not pass up the opportunity.  And, it also just so happens to be the summer in which my son and I created an Adventure Book . . .  a little scrapbook detailing weekly adventures that we took that summer.  Here are a few of the pictures and highlights from our literary adventure taken straight from C's Adventure Book . . .

On Friday, June 15, 2007, my son and I took a little road trip to Mansfield, Missouri.  It was in Mansfield that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her Little House books.  Her homes are now preserved and a museum has been established in her memory.  This is the home that Laura and Almanzo built (and expanded on) after leaving De Smet, South Dakota.

The white house is where Laura wrote all but the first four books in her Little House series.  Did you know that Laura stood no higher than five feet tall?  Because of this, Almanzo built all of the cabinets and counters to fit his beloved wife.  I am much taller, so walking through the home made me feel like I was walking through a child's play room!  Other things that I enjoyed seeing were Laura's own personal library (still completely intact I might add!) and Pa's fiddle (actually located in the museum next door)!  Can you imagine how I felt when I saw that fiddle?!?!

I have also included some pictures of the information plaques located outside of each of the homes for your enjoyment!  This is kind of cheesy that I take pictures of these everywhere I go, but they sometimes contain some great information that I will never remember (or even think to google when I get home).

We then drove down the road a bit to find the second home of Laura . . . what was known as Laura's Rock House.  It was her daughter Rose that had this little modern home built.  Laura and Almanzo only lived in this house for 8 years, while Rose lived in the original home.  When Rose moved out of the white house, Laura and Almanzo moved back to the original because they were homesick!  The Rock House is where the first four Little House books were written.  It is located in a very wide open area and has some beautiful architecture.

An interesting story to go along with the Rock House . . . In the back of this home there is the garage, built to match the home.  When Rose had this home built for her parents, she also bought them a car.  Funny thing is . . . Laura and Almanzo did not know how to drive!!  Rose had to teach them!!

Before hitting the road to continue our weekend adventures (but with the addition of my hubby), I had to make one last stop . . . at the cemetary.  I pulled up as close as I could to the resting place of Laura, Almanzo, and Rose (without being disrespectful, of course).  I took a quick couple of minutes to pay my own respects, thanking this amazing family for the lessons that Laura in particular passed on to me while growing up.

As I reflect on this trip, I truly believe that it is my favorite literary destination to date!  Who knew that this little pioneer girl could have such a lasting impression on children of my generation and beyond?  These are true classics and I cannot wait to share Laura's adventures with my children someday!

If you are interested in learning more about Laura and her homes in Mansfield, Missouri, I recommend that you visit Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum Website.

What literary locals have you visited (or featured) this month?


  1. thanks for sharing these pics. i had heard of Laura's home and want to see it someday.

  2. Great post and I love those pics! When I was researching that era, I found Laura Ingalls Wilder a fascinating person.

  3. I too have read the Little House series more than once. When I was 10 or 11 I got the whole set of books in a box case. That's when I remember becoming a reader. I also loved the TV show and never tired of seeing the same episode time after time.

    I'll have to pay Ms. Wilder's home and gravesite a visit. I had no idea she was in Missouri. Thanks for that special post, Tif!

  4. This is such a cool post! I think I've read the Little House books more than any others because they were the ones I read and reread as a little girl. I'd really like to visit some of these sites some day, and have many others down the road. I did get to see some places that Lord Byron visited and even left his mark (yes, graffiti) while in Greece. It was pretty cool!

  5. Wow.. I almost had goosebumps reading this post! How amazing to make a visit like that .. an author's home that is part of history now. Thanks for sharing!

  6. vvb32 . . . I would highly recommend it! It is truly one of my favorite literary experiences ever!! :)

    J. Kaye . . . I really think that she is fascinating, but it was the best seeing where she actually wrote her books! Who knows, maybe in a century, your home will be just as precious to book lovers?!? :)

    Lynne . . . You are so welcome and you definitely have to pay it a visit! When you do, let me know what you think!

    mjmbecky . . . I would love to visit some places in Europe!! You are so lucky to have visited some of Lord Byron's haunts. Did you take pictures?

    Aths . . . You are so welcome!! It gave me goosebumps to visit her home! It was amazing!! :)


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