Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2018

Whether you are looking for the perfect present for the Laura Ingalls Wilder fan in your life or just what you want to know what to put on your Christmas want list, check out these suggestions.

This is the eighth year I’ve put together a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan shopping guide. Check the first post for basic gift ideas. Read that first and use this post to look for new items, other ideas, and a list of which Laura homesites are offering Christmas mail order and the cut off dates for shipping by Christmas this year. Trundlebed Tales encourages you to do at least a little Christmas shopping from the Laura homesites because they are all local museums, highly dependent on admissions and gift shop revenue to stay open and preserve the homesites for Laura fans, so do your part. If you are buying from Amazon, make sure you go into Amazon Smile and they’ll donate part of cost to your selected charity – select a Laura Ingalls Wilder homesite.

If your favorite Laura fan is planning a trip to Walnut Grove this year, consider buying them pageant tickets. Next year they are having a cast reunion in honor of the 45th anniversary of the NBC Little House on the Prairie TV show. The tickets are available for 2019 already and the earlier you buy tickets the better seats you can get. They mail them so you can get the tickets to go under the tree. You don’t have to buy pageant tickets to attend other reunion events, but the pageant will include a question and answer session with all of the attendees. Buy them either online or by phone if you want their advice for which seat. The phone goes into a business so you can always find someone there during business hours. (Note: I don’t advise pre-buying for the other pageants because differences in how their systems work.)

And don’t forget you can also get your Laura fan gift memberships to the museums or a donation in your Laura fan’s name! Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , 2016, and 2017 are still available so take a look at previous shopping posts for more ideas.

Welcome Back to Favorites

Independence China Shepherdess 2018 – Photo courtesy of Little House on the Prairie Museum
Walnut Grove China Shepherdess 2018 – Photo courtesy of Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove

UPDATED December 11 2018: Somehow I missed that Walnut Grove also has a china shepherdess again. I’ve updated the text and added their photo.

Last year I pointed out a couple of favorite things that weren’t available then. I’m pleased to tell you that both things are back. Last year the multi-site calendar didn’t make the cut off for Christmas. They didn’t get it out in the spring like they hoped, but it’s out now. The De Smet Memorial Society puts them together with photos from the 5 sites that work together. I haven’t seen it yet – it wasn’t out for my fall trips – but I’ll be putting in an

China Replica
Mansfield Shepherdess – Photo courtesy of Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum

order soon.

The other big return is a china shepherdess replica. I was shocked when all three of the homesites that were selling different versions had stopped due to separate production issues. This year three  sites have each introduced their own new version of the shepherdess. They cost about the same. Check them out on both the Independence and Mansfield’s websites.

HarperCollins

Cover of new edition of Little House Cookbook in front of a Xmas tree
Little House Cookbook – New Edition

After rolling out several new editions last year, HarperCollins only has one new release this holiday season. They’ve rolled out a new edition of the Little House Cookbook. The new edition is hardback and replaces the hardback version that has been available since 1979. Its design follows the new edition of a trio of books in the series released last year with an introductory essay by a famous woman. The design of the text is different and the Garth Williams illustrations have been replaced by full color photographs that are lovely, but I’m fairly confident they weren’t done by a historic cook. A lot of focus is put on these photographs that are either full page or 2 pages. The book is printed on half-chalked paper (which is in vogue for all kinds of books right now for some reason) which is traditionally used to give a better surface for photographs. The photos are lovely. I should warn you that the use of chalked paper also makes the book much heavier than you’d expect. The paperback version will continue to follow the design established in 1979 by the original hardback edition and themed to the gingham covers version of the books which came out in the early 1990s.

Last year HarperCollins released the audiobooks, as recorded by Cherry Jones, as digital downloads for the first time. Slowly throughout 2017 they re-released the simplified chapter books, such as The Adventures of Laura and Jack or the most appropriate Christmas Stories, with brand new covers. Six of the simplified picturebooks, illustrated by Renee Graef, were newly collected and published as one volume. It’s called a Little House Picture Book Treasury. Finally, they also put out The Little House Book of Wisdom, a collection of quotes from the series.

Queen’s Treasures

When Friendly Films and their Little House on the Prairie TV show started authorizing products again one of the first things licensed was a set of dolls and accesories for a Laura doll. They have everything from a covered wagon to all the minature equipment you need to fill it up. You can outfit your doll in a typical pioneer dress or in one based on Laura’s good dress from the TV show. This fall they rolled out a second doll so now you can purchase both Laura and Mary.

Some Homesite Highlights

Honey Bear and Maple Syrup Cabin Containers
Pepin Label Honey and Maple Syrup

Pepin rolled out several new things this year. One of the most exciting to fans of the “Little House” picture books is that Pepin now is selling high quality prints of Renee Graef’s illustrations. There are several and appear in different sizes. Another cool thing is that they are now selling private label honey and maple syrup.

40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt
40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt, An example of their limited ed t-shirts

It’s nice to be able to have options other than the standard t-shirt for Laura fan clothes. Walnut Grove has just rolled out long-sleeve t-shirts which is a new option and some new sweatshirts. Next year you want to check in with Walnut Grove around July. They’ll have new things for the reunion and even if you can’t go you can buy some fun swag! Be on the ball though because last time they sold out of reunion shirts early.

De Smet Memorial Charlotte in Blue Dress
De Smet Memorial Charlotte – By Aunt

If you read Laura Lore, you’ll have heard that the long time maker of Charlotte dolls for the De Smet Memorial Society retired. Her niece has picked up her needle and is now once again making Charlotte dolls using De Smet’s original pattern. If you have one by the aunt (or 2 or 3), then it’s time to get a new version.

Also, if you’re familiar with the series of china ornaments they’ve made (one per book plus one for Rocky Ridge and an older Laura), they’ve introduced another ornament with a younger

A photo of young Laura on a china ornament
Photo Courtesy of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society

portrait of Laura to fit more with the De Smet time period of Laura’s life.

Mansfield still has some really cool items left from the anniversary. I especially like their anniversary magnet. They have a new design for the “I Love Laura” pin and a few new products featuring a line drawing of Rocky Ridge farmhouse.  


Harvey Dunn, nephew by marriage of Grace Ingalls and internationally known artist and illustrator, is best known for his connection with Manchester, the next town west of De Smet. The South Dakota Art Museum houses the largest collection of Dunn’s work. (It’s well worth your effort to stop in Brookings on your way to or from De Smet.) They have just released a reprint of Where Your Heart Is: The Story of Harvey Dunn, Artist. This current edition is available exclusively from the South Dakota Art Museum store.

The Ingalls Homestead, who developed the idea of wood crates to create a box set for the hardcover books, also has a wide range of products and some great news about shipping. Associate the Homestead with the covered wagon rides? They have a beautiful ornament of a covered wagon. Remember how excited Laura was about her Santa Christmas presents she got from Mr. Edwards? At the Homestead you can order tin cups with two sticks of peppermint, the heart shaped cakes and even a penny! A unique gift is squares of Ingalls Homestead homemade soap. They also have a wide selection non-Laura books of prairie/pioneer related subjects.

Spring Valley is a smaller site, but they work on having unique things in their giftshop. One area they have a big selection in is the American Girl aka 18 inch size doll clothes. They are locally made and not mass produced. Colors may vary.

Doll Clothes from Spring Valley

While we’re talking about “18-inch dolls” aka “American Girl Doll Size”, Thimbles and Acorns has been printing dress patterns for specific dresses. There are publications of various lengths and with patterns around various themes. Most of the homesite giftshops have them now.

Malone has rolled out a new way to shop this year. You can buy items in a Facebook shop. Their new item is a collectable fundraising ornament. Their local rotary every year picks a different charity to create an ornament as a fundraiser. This year’s features a photo of the farmhouse.

I recommend contacting the sites by e-mail or online store instead of by phone, except where noted. Even places that have been easiest to contact by phone in the past I’ve had trouble calling, but most responded quickly by e-mail.

Independence KS

Little House on the Prairie Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority Mail – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Walnut Grove MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-800-528-7280
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 17, 2018

De Smet SD

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
Online Store
Phone 1-800-880-3383
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 20, 2018

Ingalls Homestead
Online Store
Phone: 1-800-776-3594
Last Day for Priority – December 20, 2018

Loftus Store Online
Phone: 605-854-3773 Call to order
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date use your own judgment

Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-877-924-7126 (Toll free)
Last Day for Priority – December 20, 2018

Malone NY

Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm
Online Store
Facebook Store
farm@almanzowilderfarm.com
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

Spring Valley MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Store not online)
wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com
Recommends using e-mail to order for Christmas, but you may want to include your phone number in the e-mail so they can get back to you with questions quickly.
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

Burr Oak IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

The best way for people to shop during the winter is through the website gift shop and then pay through Paypal. You can email the museum with questions. They are no longer accepting checks for orders because of some bad check incidents.

Pepin WI

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Best to order online, but can also reach by phone 715-513-6383, or by sending a letter. Neither museum nor gift shop is open during the winter.
Last Day for Priority – December 10, 2018

UPDATED December 11 2018: As I mentioned above I had to add about the Walnut Grove shepherdess and I caught a typo and fixed it.

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.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Events 2018

Photo in Wilder Farmhouse – Courtesy of Connie Jenkins

When you think Laura trip, normally think of summer trips. Planning driving trips around the Midwest during the winter isn’t a wise person’s first choice, but sometimes early December is still fine weather. Over the years several of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites have had a Christmas event that first December weekend. Currently Mansfield, Missouri; Malone, New York; and Spring Valley, Minnesota, have Christmas Events.

Malone, NY

The most immersive Christmas event is the one at the Almanzo Wilder Farm in Malone, New York. This year Christmas with Almanzo! will be December 1, 2018 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. “For this event admission is free. Come and enjoy readings from Farmer Boy Christmas chapter in the parlor of the house at 11:30 and 1:00. (Adults must accompany and remain with child.) Enjoy cookies, mulled cider, Christmas carols, and children’s activities. Come visit our gift store for last minute shopping with complimentary gift wrapping for purchased items. Happy Christmas!”

Mansfield, MO

In comparison Mansfield’s Christmas event is much smaller. This year the event is December 1, 2018 from 6pm-8pm. Refreshment, shopping, and tours of Rocky Ridge are all part of the event. I haven’t had official confirmation for this year’s event, but in past years they’ve allowed photographs inside the living room decorated for Christmas and tours of the upstairs.

Spring Valley, MN

The Spring Valley Laura Ingalls Wilder museum doesn’t reopen for an event, but does do a special Christmas fundraiser. They hold a special Christmas tea. They used to do several, but they are down to one. Reservations are required. Although many Laura fans only look at the church museum, they have two additional buildings across the street. One of which is a lovely late 19th century house museum. Teas will be held on Dec. 1, 2018 at 12:30pm. Cost is $12 for the lunch. It is a full lunch set in a Victorian home that was built in 1888. Reservations required for the teas. Contact the museum at wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com

Keystone, SD

Keystone stole a march on the other Laura homesites by having a Christmas in July event. I think this was especially clever (and frankly I wish some of the homesites would have a summer birthday for Laura like that) as I don’t know many people who’d drive across South Dakota in December for an event. I didn’t get to it, but it sounds like it was a great event – with special guest Dean Butler as Santa Claus. The director of Keystone resigned this fall and since she started the event no word on whether it will continue in 2019 or not.

Chicago, IL

This isn’t specifically a Christmas event, I hadn’t reported on it yet and its run crosses Christmas. It opened October 19, 2018 and will close January 13, 2019. “Laura Ingalls Wilder and Her Prairie” features rare books from the collection of the Chicago Botanical Garden focusing on the original prairie plant illustrations of Helen Sharpe based on  Marta McDowell’s book The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Find out more.

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.

News on the Masters Hotel in Walnut Grove

Original Masters Hotel in Walnut Grove during June 2017
Original Masters Hotel in Walnut Grove during June 2017

A couple of years ago the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota purchased the former Masters Hotel right across the street. This was the original masters Hotel that Laura talks about in Pioneer Girl before they move to Burr Oak, Iowa.

Looking in Through the Windows of the Walnut Grove Masters Hotel
Looking in Through the Windows of the Walnut Grove Masters Hotel in June 2017

It was purchased with the idea of restoring it, but once money was raised and the process begun it was determined the building was too far gone. They tore it down and decided to focus attention on the Master Store/Meeting Hall Building next door which it is believed Pa helped build.

Read more in this article by Kathleen Miller Brandt

http://www.ncppub.com/pages/?p=8470#more-8470http://www.ncppub.com/pages/?p=8470#more-8470

New Article

Brandt also shared with me another article and gave me permission to share it here:

Eleck Nelson Early settler of Walnut Grove

By Kathy Brandt

Some people spend their lives chasing fame, while others never have a clue that they will someday have a claim to fame. That was certainly true for Eleck Nelson, an early settler in the Walnut Grove area. Eleck Nelson was born on September 29, 1846 in Gran Kommune (Parish), Oppland fylke, Norway. This coming Saturday would have been his 172 birthday. He died on July 15, 1931, and he was the oldest resident as far as the number of years living in Walnut Grove. Eleck came to Redwood County in the 1870s, and according to information found on Ancestry.com,did not file for the patent on his homestead until 1881, because his intent to become a citizen was not filed until then.

In 1871, he married Olena. The family settled in North Hero Township, where at least several of their children were born. Their seven children were: Annie (the Anna Laura Ingalls Wilder mentioned) who was born in 1872 and died in 1890, Mary, Fred, Albert, Samuel, Julia and Hjelmer. Little did he know in 1874, when he stepped in to help new neighbors, Charles and Caroline Ingalls, that he, Olena and Annie would go down in history and would forever be famous in a book and a television series.

Eleck Nelson seems to have been a colorful character. According to family notes on Ancestry,com, he sold the farm in 1892 and purchased 80 acres just north of the Walnut Grove town site. He held many positions in the next several years. He owned a butcher shop, and, it is believed, employed his friend Charles Ingalls, who had returned to Walnut Grove following their time in Burr Oak, Iowa. He also opened a saloon, worked as a stock buyer and dealer, was a supervisor for North Hero Township, was a rural mail carrier, served on the Walnut Grove village board for ten years and served as the mayor for four years.

A big story is told that one night Eleck got extremely drunk. The city constable was going to shut down Nelson’s saloon and take Eleck to jail. But someone had warned Olena, so she came into town with the horse and wagon, got Eleck into the back of the wagon because he was too drunk to sit on the seat up front, and she took him home before the constable could get to the saloon. Olena died in 1921, and was buried close to daughter Annie on the eastern edge of the North Hero Township Cemetery. Sometime after Olena died, Eleck began to keep company with a “woman of ill repute” from Tracy. Things got so bad, that the village actually passed laws that mainly pertained to her and her presence in town. Finally, the sheriff was able to “run her out of town on a rail” and she apparently never came back.

Eleck Nelson died in 1931 and was buried beside his wife and daughter in the North Hero Township cemetery. Six years after his death, he was made famous when his old neighbor’s daughter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, immortalized some of his family in her book about their years in the Walnut Grove Area, On the Banks of Plum Creek. Eleck didn’t seek fame, and certainly didn’t expect to be made famous. His tombstone tells the story of a simple man, an immigrant, a pioneer, a farmer, a husband and a father. A simple man to the end.

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.

Harvey Dunn Exhibits 2018 2019

Harvey Dunn was not only Grace Ingalls Dow’s nephew, but a famous painter (check it out he has his own stamp). He was not only a famous illustrator and art teacher to future famous illustrators and one of a very select group of artists chosen to officially document World War I, but also a master of prairie scenes.

Harvey Dunn Art Museum
Harvey Dunn Art Museum

South Dakota State Art Museum

It was due to Dunn’s donation of his prairie masterpieces that the South Dakota Art Museum was created. If your time allows at all I strongly recommend a visit. The museum holds so many of Dunn’s work that they only have a selection on display at any time and often borrow other works to help fill out a story.

Previously I explained this in a little more detail and gave you the 2018 schedule. A new brochure I just received in the mail has me making another report.

Free Parking

Before I go on I want to just take a minute and reaffirm that they now have a free parking lot. If there was a problem with the museum before it was you had no idea where to park. Back in March they announced:

Parking just got easier with our new FREE parking lot just west of the museum on Harvey Dunn Street. It’s reserved for museum visitors. No need to go back with a permit when you check in at the front desk.

New Dunn Exhibitions

One current exhibit runs through November 4, 2018. It features artwork that Dunn made specifically to illustrate magazine articles. Here is the Exhibit Guide.

A second exhibit opened August 28, 2018 and will run through February 9, 2019. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice (the official day World War I ended – 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) they are offering an exhibit featuring work done illustration World War I. Here is the Exhibit Guide.

Plein Air Event

Just as a last thing before we leave Harvey Dunn each August the Ingalls Homestead hosts an outdoor painting event in Dunn’s honor. Another great event to visit if you get a chance.

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.

Upcoming Mansfield Events

With permission I’m republished an e-mail that recently went out to members about their upcoming events this fall. Most of the formatting is theirs.

150th Magnet – Photo Courtesy of Mansfield

Dear Members and Supporters!

Thank you for your continued support to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home & Museum here in Mansfield, MO. We have some exciting events coming up that we wanted to share with you and hope that you will share them with your friends and family.

In Addition to the events listed below, we are doing some green fundraising, but we need your help! Now through the end of September we will be collecting new and gently used shoes of all types. By collecting these shoes, we are not only raising money for our beloved museum but helping individuals in disaster areas. So please go through your closets and ask your friends, family, and even your co-workers to do the same. Shoes can be brought directly to the museum or dropped off at one of our locations in Springfield. A flyer has been attached if you wish to share it. Thank you for your participation!

August 4:  10 a.m.- 3p.m.: Justamere Event: Blue Willow T-shirt making party $25

Come join us here at the Wilder Home and learn about Blue Willow, Laura’s favorite dish pattern. Participants of the workshop will each make their own Blue Willow T-shirt using imagery from the pattern. Tickets include your admission to the museum, both houses, refreshments, and your custom handmade T-shirt. Additionally, each participant will have a ticket entered in our raffle to win a custom piece of Blue Willow jewelry. The pendant on the necklace features a piece of blue willow similar to what Laura owned. This is an all ages event, come and go as you please.

August 10:  11a.m.: Pa’s Fiddle

This is a free event for museum guests. Elsa Godding, of Springfield, will be taking guests on an audio journey through Laura’s books. During this family-oriented event, she will discuss with the audience each book and the significance of the songs she is performing on Pa’s Fiddle. All ages.

September 14:  Wilder Dinner with Reception Add-on, Reservations Required

$40 Reception: 5:30 p.m. at the Historic Farmhouse

(ticket to the dinner is required for the reception)

$85 Dinner: 7p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.) at the Mansfield High School

This year’s dinner guest is Karen Grassle, who played Caroline Ingalls in the hit t.v. series. She will be available before the dinner (at the reception add on) for photographs at the Historic Farmhouse. The dinner will have live music, including music played from Pa’s fiddle. There will also be a live and silent auction.

September 15:  All Day: Wilder Day

$10 Adult tickets

$5 Children’s tickets

Come join us for the annual Wilder Day celebration where we will be holding the 5th Annual Fiddle Off competition. Special guest Karen Grassle will be in attendance this year and will be available for guests to purchase autographs from. Pa’s fiddle will be played three times during the event. Additionally, we will have a children’s activity tent available for the youngsters. So, come have a good time and listen to good music while supporting our museum.

October 12: 7 p.m.- 9p.m. Sunset Serenade $10

Grab a lawn chair and join us out on the lawn in front of the historic Farm House for a sunset serenade. Enjoy the fall colors in a beautifully preserved historic atmosphere as Elsa Godding plays Pa’s fiddle. Food will be available for purchase. This is an all ages event. Cost is $10.

November 15– Closing Day

This is the last day to tour the museum and both houses before we close for the season.

December 1: Time TBD, call for more info in November

Come tour Laura’s home, get your pictures taken with Santa, and shop in our giftshop before the holidays. Samples from Laura’s cookbook will be provided and the cookbook will be available in the gift shop for purchase. This event is all ages and is free to the public.

Thank you for your support and we hope to see you!

Floods Continue in SW Minnesota

Road with a HUGE hole washed away
Road Washed out on way to Pageant Grounds – Photo by
Nancy Amsden

I reported yesterday that the pageant was cancelled for this weekend since the pageant grounds are flooded. They are still waiting to see what’s going on after the water goes down, but hopefully they’ll still get something worked out for the following two weekends. That’s their current plan anyway. If you have tickets definitely call first and check road closures for the surrounding areas.

A red building and board walkway with rails now under water
Flood Waters Surround Building at End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum – Photo courtesy of Jakob Etrheim

There are other museums in the area also under flood danger.

Wheels Across the Prairie

Wheels Across the Prairie Museum is located in Tracy, Minnesota – the next town down the line from Walnut Grove. This is where Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and Grace waited for Pa to pick them up at the end of the line of the railroad. The museum has the original depot including the bench they would have waited on. They also have the Laura collection of Marcy Schramm that’s in the main building which is safe from the flood so far. Schramm’s father was one of the founders of the museum.

According to Jon Wendorff, Wheels’s director, water has overtaken the “blacksmith shop, general store, cottage, one-room school house and our new building.” They are closed until Saturday, possibly longer. Wendorff says, “pray for the rain to stop all across the state.”

Historic Village surrounded by flood waters
End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum – Buildings Surrounded by Water – Photo courtesy of Jakob Etrheim

End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum

End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum is about a county south of Walnut Grove in Currie, MN. I must admit I’ve only driven past although it’s been on my agenda to stop for awhile. Funny thing I always seem to be leaving Walnut Grove heading West…. 🙂

It’s a historic village/railroad museum and it has one of the end of the line turn arounds like Laura describes in Tracy in By the Shores of Silver Lake. I’ve seen one before, but if you haven’t – and even if you have – it’s worth a stop if it fits into your schedule.

Like Walnut Grove and Tracy, Currie has been under flood conditions. The main road east of town is shut down at the bridge.

According to Jakob Etrheim the water hasn’t made it into their buildings yet. “So far so good. Water is up to the buildings but not in yet. But the crest hasn’t come yet either.”

Cedar Rapids Flood

As I said in my intial report, we’re experienced in flooding. Ushers Ferry Historic Village where I used to work was majorly effected in both 2008 and 2016. There is a lot to flood recovery. It’s not just waiting for the water to go down.

Send all these museums and organizations and good thoughts and maybe consider how much you could send to help keep our southwestern Minnesota Laura sites up and running once they get that far. I’ll do my best to keep you updated.

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.

Dean Butler on Almanzo Wilder Farmstead Site

Dean Butler visited Malone NY, so should you!

Dean Butler has been the TV star most closely associated with the Almanzo Wilder farm in Malone/Burke, New York. He created a documentary about Almanzo and the homesite, Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura.

Now he’s helping kick off a new fundraising campaign.

Highlights from the Video

Almanzo-Almonzo name

Wear and Tear on home, drainage issues

Launch of fundraising campaign

Endowment for home

Biggest crowds when Dean comes

Fundraising Campaign

The campaign intends to address both short term needs and long term goals.

From their website:
“The time has come for ALIWA to address some significant work that is needed to maintain the historic Wilder home and the barns. While supporters have been very generous over the years and visitor numbers continue to increase, other increased costs of operating the homestead do not allow us to accumulate the funds necessary to address costly maintenance needs. There is significant roof repair needed on the replica barns. The house has been suffering from drainage issues that, if not corrected, will continue to create excess moisture in the house, which has already begun to result in rot. The fix for this will require extensive ground and, possibly, well work to be done, as well as repair and mitigation efforts in the house itself. We have begun working with local architect, Tim McCarthy, to manage these projects.”

Learn more about the campaign.

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.