On the first day of summer, last Friday, we headed down the highway to Mansfield MO on a little trip that would take us nearly 4 hours to get to our destination, but that time frame includes stopping for an early lunch. Mansfield is a small town with a population of 2,400 and was the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder for over 60 years. I've been a fan of Laura's and her books for many, many years and had never seen this before. I'm glad we went! My hubby enjoyed it very much, too.
After parking in the graveled parking lot across the highway, this is the scene that we first saw as we walked up the gravel lane toward the house. The museum is very close to the back of Laura's house. There is a book store and gift shop to the left of the museum. That is where we saw a short film about the Wilder's before we began our tour.
First, we went into the museum to purchase our tickets for the house tour. Eight dollars for senior citizens...what a bargain! This included a tour of the museum and later a tour of the house that Rose Wilder Lane, Laura and Almanzo's daughter, built for her parents.
The museum wasn't very big, but was so interesting and I wish I had a photographic memory to describe all I saw. One of the things I loved seeing was the fiddle that Charles (Pa) had while Laura was growing up and later handed down to her. This fiddle is still played on special occasions such as when they hold a festival.
There was a buggy that they used in traveling that was much smaller than I would have thought it would be to carry their belongings. We saw Laura's treadle sewing machine that stitched many of their clothes. There was a beautiful white dress of Laura's that she made that had such detail like little vertical pleats on the bodice and lace. She must have made it for a special occasion.
There were quilts that Laura had made, including an appliqued quilt she made when she was 89, a year before her death. Also displayed were many handwritten letters and notes, manuscripts, Bibles, books, dishes and furniture that belonged to Laura and her family. Displayed were many photographs and tintypes of all the family, too. And, I can't forget the lap desk that hid a 100 dollar bill that helped Laura and Almanzo buy the acreage where they lived. We saw Laura's jewelry box, some of her jewelry, and even her small revolver that she used to shoot small game.
This house started life as a small cabin and Almanzo added on rooms as they were able to do so. The front part of the house where the fireplace is was built by Almanzo, but we were told he had some help with the building of that part.
I feel like I'm writing a book, and there is much more to tell, so I'll end my visit to Laura's home for now and finish up later with Part 2. I'll also show photos of the second Wilder home that their daughter, Rose, had built and gifted to her parents.
Until next time...