The Little House on the Prairie

Thursday, June 15, 2017

As a child, my dad would read to my every night. He would sit propped up on the bed while I laid my head on his chest and listened to his deep voice rattle in his chest. It was our nightly ritual. One of our favorite series to read was the The Little House books. It's still one of my favorite book series. As well as television series. I remember as a child, I would watch one hour of TV a night and once a week it was Laura and the family in our den. (It might have also included The Dukes of Hazard, but that's a different sort of blog post!)

When my husband and I were dating, we visited the home of Laura and Almanzo Wider in Mansfield, MO. If you haven't been, you must! It's chocked full of artifacts from their life together, as well as so many things from her childhood. Including Pa's fiddle! So while we were heading home from Oklahoma this week, we had to stop in Independence, KS to see her little house on the prairie! Set back several miles from the highway is their Kansas homestead. A replica log cabin stands against the prairie winds, much as it did 1800s. Based on the location of Pa's hand dug well, researchers were able to find the location on the prairie of where the Ingalls would have settled in 1869. The family only lived there for a little over a year before leaving. Charles had been told that the location would soon be open to white settlers. That was incorrect. Their home was actually on the Osage Indian reservation and they had no legal claim to the land. They left in 1871 and headed back to Wisconsin. 

Being on this historical site was a thrill! And having McKinley with me this time made it even better. He's now intrigued and would like to start reading the books. I think it's incredibly important for him to understand this time in history. That people fed of the land, lived a much simpler life, lived for the love of family. In the end, family is all we have. 

Below is our time on the prairie. It was so peaceful. Vast. Beautiful. It's hard to believe that in less than 12 miles, we were back among "civilization" after witnessing something so grand as this site. 



Also on the grounds are the Wayside Post Office and Sunny Side School. The post office was not in existence during the time the Ingalls spent in Kansas. It was moved to this site to preserve it's historical status. The one room school house was built in 1871. It was located roughly five miles from the Ingall's cabin. The girls would have been too young to attend the school. The little school house is very reminiscent of the one at Deanna Rose Farmstead.

  If you are a fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder, and find your self on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma, treat yourself to some time on the prairie. It's well worth the trip!!


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