T-Shirt of the Month July 2017

When I post my video diaries I always get comments about my Laura clothes. No, not my period dresses, but my Laura Ingalls Wilder t-shirts that I wear for travel and Laura trips. I thought everyone might enjoy a closer look at them. So enjoy our new monthly series where we look at a Laura shirt each month.

Shirt of the Month

Here is this month’s t-shirt:

 

Spring Valley Red 2016
Spring Valley Red 2016

Spring Valley

Spring Valley, Minnesota is located conveniently near Burr Oak, Iowa and is one of the smaller Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites. The James Wilder family had moved here from New York when Almanzo was a teenager and they had a well established horse farm. Laura, Almanzo, and Rose stayed with Mother and Father Wilder after they sold out in De Smet and before they ventured on to Florida.

The Methodist Church in town was finished during their time there and they would have attended. Today it houses the Spring Valley Methodist Church Museum. Most of the set up is a typical county style museum with things like a collection of materials from churches in the area that have closed down and buckets without a flat bottom (to discourage people borrowing them for their own use and forgetting to bring them back). There is a upper class house museum and additional outbuildings with agriculture equipment and a one-room school. They are especially proud of their stain glass windows.

Want to learn more about the Spring Valley connection? Look for the book and/or listen to my podcast about it.

What’s Wilder to See

The museum has done a great job of research and has made to most of what they have tracking down every scrap they could find about Almanzo, Laura, and his family’s time in Spring Valley. Find the display they’ve created out of this on the second floor. (They have a wonderful research archive that is not on display.)

The Wilder house was torn down before Wilder’s fame was established, but you can still see the horse barn believed to be used by the Wilder family from the road. (Be aware the owner is beyond sick of Wilder fans and doesn’t want them on his property.)

Finally, the Spring Valley Cemetery is the resting place of several Wilder Relatives, most importantly Almanzo’s brother, Royal Wilder and his two infant daughters.

Gift Shop

One of the surprising things about Spring Valley is their gift shop. As a small museum it certainly doesn’t have the breadth of say Walnut Grove, De Smet, or Mansfield, but they go out of their way to have unique and interesting things. This is the only place you’ll find one of my favorite Laura dolls, a boy Almanzo cloth doll.

This t-shirt is another example of something unique, both Spring Valley and Burr Oak are known for having bright colored t-shirts where many of the other Laura related giftshops have more sedate colors. Walnut Grove has been making a stab in this direction also with their short term specialty shirts for events which have been orange and a very bright robin egg’s blue.

So if you’re looking for a shirt that shows off just how bright and sunny you feel to be visiting a Laura homesite, check out the shirts in Spring Valley. Note they do NOT have an online store, but do take phone and e-mail orders. (507) 346-7659 or wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com

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  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Spring Valley Events 2017

church-museum

The Spring Valley Methodist Church Museum – A Laura Ingalls Wilder site is located in Spring Valley, Minnesota. Spring Valley is where Mother and Father Wilder moved when sold their farm and left Malone, New York not too long after Farmer Boy ends. They moved to Spring Valley after purchasing Angeline Wilder’s uncle’s farm. Laura and Almanzo stayed with them between leaving De Smet, South Dakota and moving to Florida. The likely barn used by the Wilders still sits on the site and they would have attended this church. The museum is open daily starting on May 27, 2017. Besides the church their are two building. One is an agriculture/one-room school building and a second is a very lovely house museum. It’s worth your time to visit all three.

Spring Valley Museum events for 2017:

Almanzo 100 Gravel Road Bike Race – May 20,2017

Our Annual Ice Cream Social is June 16, 2017 5-7pm

Eliza Jane School Days is July 24-25 or 27-28, 2017

Ag Days (town celebration) August 17-20, 2017

After September 4, 2017 they close on weekdays, but remain open on weekends

They close for the season on Oct. 29, 2017

They have a holiday event – Christmas teas on Dec. 2-3, 2017 (reservations required)

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Almanzo Farmstead Events Malone 2017

Check out the events at the Almanzo Wilder farm in Malone/Burke, New York in 2017. The Almanzo Wilder farm is located between Malone and Burke, New York and is the setting of Farmer Boy. They were late getting started as a museum, but did a wonderful job in getting started including a two season archeological dig. They are well worth a visit.

events-2017

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Little House Fans Head North

Wilder House with Flag
Wilder House with Flag

Recently the Almanzo Wilder Homestead News newsletter’s top story was the fact that Mountain Lake PBS (the affiliate for up state New York) had done a news magazine story on the Wilder farm as it stands today. It includes footage inside the house where you’re not normally allowed to take photos. The guide points to where the blacking brush Almanzo threw at Eliza Jane hit (they show a blacking brush, but I think it might have been a bigger brush if he could throw it very well).

The story focuses on tour guides Katelyn Pierce and Jim Lusk.

Malone is a great place to visit, but it’s a long drive down a two lane road from everywhere. Enjoy this short visit and plan one in real life too.

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

2015 Spring Valley MN Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

Spring Valley, Minnesota is one of the smaller Laura Ingalls Wilder sites. Spring Valley is where Almanzo’s parents moved once they left Malone, New York. Laura, Almanzo and Rose moved there from De Smet when Diphtheria proved the straw that broke the camel’s back. Royal ultimately returned as well and is buried there. Today you can still see a barn on the former Wilder farm which is believed to date to the time (it’s private property look from the road) and a museum where they have done an amazing job of pulling together everything they could about the James Wilder family even ads from Royal’s store. The museum is located in a former church. It was finished shortly after Laura and Manly’s arrival and they attended with the Wilders.

Spring Valley MN Events

Spring Valley Church Museum
Spring Valley Church Museum

Their town event is called Wilder Fest. This year the dates are May 16-17 and the museum will be open that week-end but officially opens the next week-end (Memorial Week-end) the 23rd.

In June they have our annual Ice Cream Social on Friday the 19th from 5pm -7pm at the museum, complete with homemade BBQ pork sandwiches, potato salad, beans, and of course, pie and ice cream.

They will also be holding their Eliza Jane School Days this year again in July -The 27-28 and 30-31. They are trying two 2 day sessions to accommodate more students, though they can come for one day and still have a lot of fun. It runs from 9am – 11:30 each day. Just a touch of old fashioned school days and living in the late 1800s.

If you want to try a different Wilder experience head to Southeast Minnesota.

Sarah S. Uthoff 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.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Interview with Dean Butler

I’m doing a little housekeeping catching up on blog posts about past episodes of Trundlebed Tales. I hope you enjoy them.

Dean Butler at Malone
Dean Butler at Malone

Dean Butler (who played Almanzo Wilder on the NBC Little House on the Prairie TV series) came on the Trundlebed Tales podcast in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Little House on the Prairie TV Show last year. Butler talked about his relationship with the show and “Little House” fandom.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2014/05/05/ep-56-dean-butler-little-house-40th-anniversary

Below is an outline of the topics we touched on in the episode:

  • Butler’s Connection with the show
  • Butler and reading the “Little House”books
  • Horses on the show, had familiarity with horses, but had to learn about buggies, wagons, etc. Can westerns be made today?
  • Almanzo’s hat
  • Pronouncing Almanzo – Almonzo he’s been converted
  • Props and wardrobe he got to keep
  • Mary from Ireland calls in, Today Show reunion, what other character he would have liked to play (Mrs. Olson or Nellie), Remastered DVDs
  • Non-Little House career highlights – Gidget, Into the Woods on Broadway, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Moved into production, now produces David Feherty
  • Visited homesites (first one was Mansfield, roughly 1998) first, then realized opportunity to produce documentaries about show and homesites, Been to every homesite except Independence, Kansas. Enjoys visiting them all.
  • Role in representing cast
  • You have to support things you love
  • Availability of background features from past issues and his role as narrator of new documentary that is part of the release
  • Continued releases
  • 40th Anniversary TV Show Reunion Events
  • Documentaries for Sale

UPDATED September 25, 2015: I made a couple of small edits and updated the second link. I also updated my signature block.

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

 

The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village

Colonial Williamsburg – The Henry Ford of the East Coast

All the while I was growing up I heard about Colonial Williamsburg. I saw it on morning news shows, children’s shows would have special episodes set there, and the Bobbsey Twins even set a mystery there (The Red, White, and Blue Mystery – seriously read it before you go. I read about everything I could get my hands on before I finally got to visit Colonial Williamsburg and this did a better job of preparing me for my visit then any of the handbooks and travel guides I read.)[NOTE: Last time I said so, I was encouraged to read the newest one for children and the newest one for adults. I’ve bought them, but haven’t read them yet.-  2016]

Shhhhh! You Never Hear About The Henry Ford

On the other hand, I don’t think I had more than a vague idea that Greenfield Village existed. I remember checking out a 15 minute video from the Iowa City Public Library years ago and that was my first real hint of the richness that makes up The Henry Ford. Henry Ford had the wonderful idea, really well before his time, to collect as complete as possible full sets of everyday items, sleighbells, sad irons, lightbulbs, etc. And added things of cultural importance (The On the Road With Charles Kuralt Bus, the Weinermobile) and things related to great people (the chair Lincoln sat in at Ford’s Theater, Rosa’s Park’s bus, Edison’s last breath, Luther Burbank’s shovel – Yes, you should know that name, look him up).

ALHFAM

What really hooked me was when I visited during the Association of Living History Farms and Museum conference one year.  I was overawed by what a great collection and a great experience it was and have since been collecting articles and books on The Henry Ford ever since. It’s been a fascinating pursuit. This video is just a small tease at what they have to offer.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Connections

Laura fans should be interested for two main reasons. First, this is where Almanzo spent his time while Laura was giving her Book Week Speech. You can still see some of the same things Almanzo did and while he doesn’t seem to have left a record of his passing, he did tell people that the lunch wagon, where you can still get a meal, provided a better meal at a better price than he could get in Mansfield.

Second, Laura fans will also want to take note that Bill Kurtis, journalist and co-owner of the Little House on the Prairie Museum site in Independence, narrates this 12 minute film.

A smaller bonus reason is that Rose Wilder wrote a biography on Henry Ford Rose Wilder wrote a biography on Henry Ford, I own a copy, do you?

UPDATED October 9 2016: I added the headings and a few links when I reblogged.

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.