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.
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.
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!
The interior is simple, and suggests how the family’s cabin might have appeared.
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.
A couple of other historic buildings have been moved to the site, including this one-room schoolhouse.
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.)
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.
If you’ve read Death on the Prairie, my 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.
I’m happy to report that my sister and I had a fine time when we visited.
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!