Little House sites abound for the curious


| October 2005



House and wagon on prairie

dmitriy/Fotolia

Laura Ingalls Wilder's series of 'Little House' books have been enjoyed by generations of readers. Loyal fans who want to get a first-hand glimpse at the locales and way of life that the books describe can visit many of the settings that inspired the books' author.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society preserves and maintains two houses in De Smet, S.D. One is a house where the Ingalls family lived during the winter of 1879-1880. The other is a house built in 1887 by Laura's father, Charles. For more information, visit www.discoverlaura.org.

Sixteen other sites mentioned in Wilder's 'Little House' book series are located in the De Smet area. Among the places 'Little House' fans will want to visit: Ingall's Homestead. Describing itself as 'Laura's Living Prairie,' this attraction is located one mile southeast of De Smet. While there, visitors can take a covered wagon ride, visit a prairie school, try a hand at rope making, wheat grinding and corn shucking, and visit re-creations of a little house, barn and dugout home from the books. For more information, visit ingallshomestead.com.

Tourists who visit the area in July may be able to take in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. The pageant brings Wilder's fiction to an outdoor, prairie stage. For more information, including show dates and times, as well as photographs from past performances, visit www.desmetpageant.org.

The 'Little House' books weren't all set in the same place - nor are the sites of interest to its fans located in just one spot. 'Little House in the Big Woods' was set in Pepin, Wis. Wilder was born in the hills above the town in 1867, and today there is a reconstructed log cabin meant to provide a historically-accurate picture of where Laura was born and what prairie pioneer life was like. The town holds a 'Laura Ingalls Wilder Days' in September. Activities at the event include traditional crafts such as blacksmithing, woodworking, and quilting, as well as a 'Pepin Laura' Contest, in which contestants demonstrate their knowledge of the life and times of Wilder as articulated in her stories. For more information, visit www.pepinwisconsin.com.

A small log cabin has been reconstructed southwest of Independence, Kan. The one-room cabin is replicated from Laura's description of it provided in 'The Little House on the Prairie.' For more information, visit http://www.littlehouseonprairie.com.





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