Hand Dug Well

One of the most well-known features of the Ingalls farm site outside of Independence, Kansas, is Pa’s hand dug well. In fact it was the existence was one of the ways they narrowed it down to one modern place. Pa’s well might be lost under concrete, but we can see another one and help a Tornado damaged town. See the world’s biggest hand dug well.

Update to website March 20, 2013:

Sarah Uthoff


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Sarah Uthoff - Trundlebed Tales

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

2 thoughts on “Hand Dug Well”

  1. The damage in Greensburg was massive. I have been to an through Greensburg many times as it is on the “southern route” from Wichita to Colorado. My parents have many photos of my sister and I sitting on the rock wall that used to surround the viewing window. We have a few of our two daughters in the same spot. On May 4, 2007 an F5 tornado destroyed 95% of the town including the historic water tower and the Big Well store and museum. In June of 2007 my husband and I drove through Greensburg on our way to Colorado. The scene was unreal. It was totally unrecognizable. Last Veteran’s Day we drove back to Greensburg to see the rebuilding progress. Greensburg is on its way back. It is intended to be the first totally “green” city in the United States. They have beautiful new schools and a county hospital. Several new homes have been built or are in progress. The Big Well it still there. All that is left of the building is the green linoleum from the floor. Money is currently being raised to build a new museum. The existence of the Big Well is a symbol of the resilience of the communtiy. Greensburg may not be the same, but it will survive.


  2. Your post about the Big Well reminded me of this story. Not exactly LIW related.

    “Syracuse 27
    On May 4, 2007, Terry and I arrived at the Syracuse property. A wonderful lady greeted us by the name of Jose, and a lot of beautiful cats. That afternoon with the help of Jose, we trapped 27 of those cats — our plan was we were to drive to Pratt where Veterinarians were to do the spay/neuter work, and then the cats would be transported to new homes.

    We carefully loaded each trap on the trailer, trying to ensure each of you would be as comfortable as possible for the ride back to Pratt. A tarp was placed over the top of the trailer to protect all of you from the wind. I promised each of you your new life would be better; you were going to receive treatment for parasites, you would be vaccinated against diseases, you would no longer have to answer Mother Nature’s incessant call to reproduce.

    We departed your lifelong home for the trip to Pratt. We stopped several times to check on you, and none of you complained. On the trip we hit bad weather, heavy rain and large hail. We were worried about your comfort and safety. We pulled off the highway into Greensburg looking for a car wash or any business with a large overhang where you would be protected from the weather. About five minutes later a very powerful tornado struck Greensburg and we were directly in its path. Our vehicle, trailer, all equipment and most importantly you 27 were destroyed by this act of nature.

    As I write this, tears roll down by cheeks, many others have cried for you also. It is my hope, when my chores here are done, we will meet again at Rainbow Bridge, and cross together. Until then, may you play together, enjoy the sunshine, and feel no pain.”

    Ray Huff


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