Good news Rose Wilder Lane fans who have been hunting used book stores online and in person for her books. Four titles have been brought back by Kessinger Publishing. These are reprints on the cheap basically photocopies of originals bound softback, but they are allowing you to buy new copies of Rose’s work, what’s not to like about that. Go to
Its only connection with Laura is its location, but Dakota Girl Cheryl Whitlock just pointed out an article providing information about Peppy, the Lake Pepin monster first spotted in 1871 and offering a reward.
Unfortunately, it’s been almost 10 years now since my last trip to Independence. I hope to get back there soon. These photos are from my last trip. Just seeing their great signage on the way to the site makes you smile.
Director Amy Finney has been making positive changes. This year they are unveiling a new attraction, you’ll be able to dress up and get your photo taken and a digital print in sepia. It sounds like fun.
Amy is also trying to get more smaller events at the site. I don’t have a schedule yet, but they recently held kite day where visitors were encouraged to hand make and fly paper kites. They are also planning a summer class of “Prairie Girls”using the book “Prairie Girls Guide to Life” by Jennifer Worick. According to Amy, “They will do the “whole nine yards” – tea party, ice cream, embroidery, braid rugs,quilt and of course dress up photos.”
My biggest complaint about the site is the irony. In Pepin you have to struggle to get trees in the photo with the cabin, but out on the prairie in Independence just try to get a photo of the cabin without them.
I just discovered some place else to check out just outside of Mansfield. Baker Creek sells heirloom variety seeds both nationally through a catalog and directly out of their store. Read about it here:
The store seems to be part of a created country town. From the photos on their website it doesn’t look like it strives for authenticity, but could be a fun place to spend some time. It seems like a more frivilous version of the Seed Savers Farm outside Decorah, Iowa near Burr Oak, which can also be a great additional stop for a Laura fan.
In case you don’t know, most modern seeds are hybrids. Hybrid seed stock is inbred and then crossed. This creates one generation of super seeds, but that generations offsprings are almost always worthless. You have to buy a new set from the seed company the next year. Previously varieties were breed and seed saved year to year. These varieties were breed for characteristics outside the modern goals of 1) all maturing at the same time for easy mechanical harvest 2) long shelf life and 3) transporting well. You’ll notice flavor, variety, multiple maturation dates for a long harvest and adaption to localized climates and soil types aren’t on that list. Desire to recapture some of those characteristics and to keep alive more than just the handful of varieties of each product have caused a movement to grow and harvest seed from heirloom varieties. Baker Creek is one place that does that. I haven’t ordered from them yet, but a friend’s brother has had nothing but good experiences with them. I think they might be worth an hour or two on your trip. They are going on my list of things to do next time I head south. 😉