One of the things visitors from urban areas might come across on a Laura trip is a long distance garage sale. There are several stretches of famous roads that now organize garage sales that reach across counties and sometimes across states.
Garage sales are known as tag sales in other parts of the country. In Midwestern towns and cities we call them garage sales because they are usually held in garages.
Families take extra stuff from around the house, price them, put out a few signs and flyers, and put up a table and cashbox and make deals with whoever happens along.
Regular garage sales usually are at different days of the week depending on community traditions, but are most commonly done on Fri. and Sat. Keep an eye out for them as you are traveling around. They can be a lot of fun to visit while looking for treasure!
Examples of Long Distance Garage Sales
Here’s an example from Illinois:
Here’s one from Kentucky:
And from Tennessee:
What Cheer Flea Market
In Iowa the largest center of garage sales and antique sellers centers 3 times a year flea market in the town of What Cheer. I always look for Laura stuff when I got to go. One of my best finds was a booklet from the University of Missouri which is clearing what Laura and Almanzo used to move their spring. I also got a postcard of the town of Phillip, SD where Carrie homesteaded. While Ebay is most useful for finding stuff you know you’re looking for, flea markets and garage sales are best for finding out what you didn’t know you were looking for.
What Cheer also is known for having one of the first restored opera houses. At one time, they had national level figures performing on the stage. Read more about it here:
To read more about their flea market, see here:
UPDATED May 13 2016:I had to revise this one quite a bit. I originally had it linked to an article in American Profile profiling several long distance garage sales. Since that link was dead I hunted up some official websites of long distance garage sales and linked to that instead. I added the headings and some explanation of everyday garage sales that you might find on your Laura trip. I made the photo bigger and did a little general editing.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.