Laura Ingalls Wilder home in Mansfield, Missouri

How many of these Laura Ingalls Wilder books did you read when you were little: Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy (about husband Almanzo’s childhood), Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years? I read them over and over and dreamed of living on the prairie in the exciting pioneer times.

When I was in DeSmet, South Dakota three years ago I got to see several of the homes associated with the Wilders there, including their land outside of town that is now an outdoor museum with covered wagons to spend the night in, a petting zoo, a replica of a dug-out home, a horse-drawn wagon to carry visitors to a replica schoolhouse – all the wonderful things I had dreamed of as a young girl because of those books.

Yesterday afternoon I visited the home where Laura Ingalls Wilder, at about the age of 64 began writing those books. Seeing the desk she sat at when she wrote gave me goose-bumps.

Over time a two room shack grew to the 10 room white farmhouse you see above. They originally bought 40 acres of land and grew that into almost 200 acres.