Laura Land Tour: Independence, KS

The Kansas prairie is the setting for Little House On The Prairie, the second book in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Little House series. Today, fans can visit the site where the Ingalls family briefly made their home.

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

Laura was only two when the family began the trip to Kansas. Decades later she relied on her parents’ memories to write Little House On The Prairie. She wasn’t sure of the actual spot where her family settled. It wasn’t until 1969 that local historian Margaret Clement succeeded in identifying the location.

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

As at Walnut Grove, MN, the homesite was part of a family farm. Property owners and volunteers created a replica of the Ingalls’s cabin at what is now known as the Little House on the Prairie Museum, and offer Laura fans a warm welcome.  I’m grateful!

Independence Cabin

The interior is simple, and suggests how the family’s cabin might have appeared.

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

BGE

Laura fans will recognize this replica of Ma’s china shepherdess.

One of the features that helped identify the spot was an old hand-dug well. Historians believe it was the one dug by Charles Ingalls and a neighbor.

Version 2

A couple of other historic buildings have been moved to the site, including this one-room schoolhouse.

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

A display shared information about doctoring in Laura’s day. (Fans will remember that the family was tended through illness by Dr. George Tann, a black physician.)

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

I love Laura’s descriptions of seemingly endless prairie in the book. The area is mostly farmland today, but a prairie has been re-established across the road.

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

If you’ve read Death on the Prairiemy latest Chloe Ellefson mystery, you may recall the dramatic scene at the Kansas site involving Chloe and her sister Kari. Chloe went to cool down along that treeline in the distance.

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

I’m happy to report that my sister and I had a fine time when we visited.

Little House on the Prairie Museum, Kansas

Logistically, it’s difficult to visit the Laura homesites in the order they appear in the books. However, the Kansas site is only about three and a half hours from Mansfield, MO, where Laura and her husband Almanzo spent most of their married years. Travelers might want to consider including both sites in one loop.

For more information about the Kansas site, visit the Little House on the Prairie Museum.

For more information about Death on the Prairie, including links to other tour stops, photographs, maps, and much more, please visit my website.

Next stop:  Rocky Ridge near Mansfield, Missouri!

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2 Responses to “Laura Land Tour: Independence, KS”

  1. Melissa Middleswart Says:

    I’ve reread all of Laura’s books since reading your mystery, as well as telling some friends, who’ve also read and enjoyed it. My good friend since childhood (we are both in our sixties) recently came to visit and brought me 2 postcards she’d found in her Mom’s stuff, which I had written to her in 1962 and 1965. The 1965 postcard came from Mansfield, MO, and it was of one of Laura’s home’s walls, showing her writing desk. I wrote that seeing Laura’s home was “real neat” and that I’d gotten lots of souvenirs. Unfortunately I have minimal memory of having been there, and the souvenirs are long gone–unless they may have included some of the books. My sister and I had all of them, her children/granddaughter have those books now. I’ve just received a copy of A Little House Traveler–I had read 2 of the books it contains but I wanted it for her notes about traveling up to SD in 1931 and as I finished reading it tonight, I was so surprised to discover that they drove through my town of Maryville Missouri on their way home! Such an interesting surprise. Thank you for rekindling my old interest in Laura and her writing.

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