Walking the Rocky Ridge Rock House Trail

Although the Rocky Ridge Farmhouse and the Rock House face different roads, they aren’t that far as a crow flies. In fact at the time they were built they were connected with a walking path. They’ve worked for awhile on recreating the path. Now you can follow the walk between the houses yourself.

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 ,   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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August 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

My beautiful picture

It’s August and it’s the last harrah of summer with a few more events at the homesites.

De Smet SD

  • The Ingalls Homestead is hosting a Plein Air Event (painting in the open air) in conjunction with the Harvey Dunn Society. Find more details about a previous event. –  August 9, 10, 11, 2019

Spring Valley MN

  • AG Days Town Celebration – August 15-18

Mansfield MO

  • August 2, 2019 7:00pm – Sunset Serenade with Pa’s Fiddle

Malone/Burke NY

  • Annual Cultural Festival– Fete du Quebecois – August 24, 2019

Celebrating the French Canadian heritage of the area in the mid 19th century with traditional food, music, demonstrations, craft vendors, and 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 ,   LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,  and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2019

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Season has officially gotten underway again. If you plan a Laura trip before they open, make sure you call ahead. The homesite museums that are not fully open, may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see.

Although you should double check before making a special trip, homesites tend to open on very similar, if not the same, dates every year so use this to plan for next year.

Wagon Ride at DeSmet Pageant
Wagon Ride at DeSmet Pageant

2019 Opening Dates

Pepin, WI
– Opens May 1, 2019

Independence, KS
– Opened April 1, 2019

Walnut Grove, MN
– The visitor/gift shop stays open all year round with reduced hours in the off season.
April 1, 2019 the ground open and the hours expand to include weekends.
(Mon.-Sat. 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Sun. 12 Noon-4:00 pm)
May 1, 2019 they expand weekend hours again
(Mon.-Sat. 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Sun. 12 Noon-5:00 pm)
June 1, 2019 hours extend to 10:00 am – 6:00 pm daily.

Dugout Site normally not open until sometime May. The date is dependent on weather conditions, if there is still snow or if it’s flooded it won’t open as early. Call ahead and check. But it’s now open for this year.

Burr Oak, IA
– Opened May 1, 2019 MonSat limited hours through May.
(Monday-Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm –Last tour 3:  on all days– Sunday: Noon – 4:00 pm) Hours expand with Memorial Day, May 28, 2019
(Monday-Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm-Last tour 4:00 pm- Sunday: Noon – 4:00 pm Last tour 3:00 pm)

DeSmet, SD
Memorial Society – Opened limited hours in January – April, expand to Saturday during May (Monday thru Saturday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
Goes to 7 days a week June 1, 2019 (Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Sunday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm)

Ingalls Homestead – Opened Memorial Day Weekend for regular hours 9:00 am – 7:00 pm every day with activities from 10:00 am -6:00 pm. They host school visits M-F through May so if you plan on a visit before they officially open next year, you may not be out of luck.  Visitors are welcome to join up with a school group, but should call or email first to get specific times as they vary daily.  800-776-3594 – mail@ingallshomestead.com

Mansfield, MO
Opened March 1, 2018 (Monday thru Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm)

Malone/Burke, NY
 – Opens Sat., May 26, 2018

Spring Valley, MN 
Open Daily starting June 1, 2019

Keystone, SD
– Opened May 15, 2019

Vinton, IA
– As of now the school remains closed. The School for the Blind was combined last year with the The School for the Deaf and they moved to Council Bluffs (which honestly I still don’t understand how that was legal).

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.

May 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

May is really when Laura Ingalls Wilder season gets started. Most of what happens though is that the homesites open. This year we have several events scheduled. I’m going to do a post about homesites opening later.

Burr Oak IA

New Event – Spring Book Sale 2019 – May 4, 2019
Advent Christian Church Open House (the church by the cemetery at the top of the hill, you drive by the cemetery on the way into town but you have to go through town to reach the parking area and the church)

– May  27, 2019 (Memorial Day) 9:30 am – 2:00 pm

Spring Valley MN

Spring Teas – May 11th (reservations required)

Mansfield MO

May 11, 2019  Justamere Graveyard Workshop [dealing with the cleaning of tombstones]

William T. Anderson

May 30-31, 2019 – Fifth Annual Midwest History Conference, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI

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

Ozark Mountain Players Announce 2019 Dates

Ozark Mountain Players is an amateur repertory company in Mansfield, Missouri. Although they occasionally put on other productions, their big one is always Laura’s Memories.

What is Laura’s Memories?

Laura’s Memories is unique to the Laura pageants in that it covers most of Laura’s life. They rotate actors around as Laura gets older, so different actors will play the main parts and once they are no longer in the main parts the same actors continue to be seen in other roles for the rest of the show. Another difference is that Laura’s Memories is a muscial. I have the soundtrack and frankly I really prefer their songs to the one in professional musical. See especially “Farmer Boy.” Their schedule is also different because they split the dates of the pageant. Often they do more than 3 weekends and put them in at least two months. (Additionally they have by FAR the most comfortable seating of all the pageants.)

2019 Dates

There has been some changeover in the management of the group in the last several years and they haven’t always been too quick to get the performance dates out. But now we have them for 2019!

  • July 12-13, 2019
  • July 19-20, 2019
  • July 26-27, 2019
  • September 20-21, 2019 (Wilder Days)

If you’ve never been, you should go!

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

News from Rocky Ridge Spring 2019

Rocky Ridge Farmhouse
Rocky Ridge Farmhouse

One of the benefits of membership for the Laura Ingalls Wilder/Rose Wilder Lane Home and Museum is the Rocky Ridge Review newsletter. Don’t you think you ought to become a member? You can also look for on-going news on their Facebook page.

As a bonus, just starting today their Children’s Literature Festival t-shirts – and these are gorgeous – are live in their online store.

Rocky Ridge Review Headlines

Here are some of the news headlines from the newsletter, join up to get the full articles.

  • Last September the road to the Rock House, Stewart Drive, was paved.
  • The editor VERY cleverly tied that into an article Laura wrote that appeared in the Mansfield Mirror, reworked from a Missouri Ruralist article, about importance of improving roads especially Mansfield Boys Good Roads club. Find the whole article reprinted.
    (Blog Ed. Note: Mansfield was not unique in this club activity. Before states and counties took over the responsibility in the Midwest, country roads were the purview of the townships and local farmers. Before paving, roads were mud and in Iowa that REALLY meant MUD, mud of sticky clay. On top of time a farmer was required to put in as a sort of road tax, a neighborhood or school improvement movement often arranged for groups of men or clubs of boys to work on improving local roads. For instance it was one of Jessie Field Shambaugh’s, mother of 4-H, big projects.)
  • The Justamere Events last year were so popular that they’ve decided to continue them on different subjects. The name comes from one of the women’s clubs that Laura belonged to. Each program, limited in size and requiring prior registration and a tuition fee, is based on a different craft or restoration activity. This year they have one planned so far and it’s on May 11, 2019. It will focus on proper cleaning of tombstones.
  • Wilder Days have been featuring more activities than ever. In 2018 Morgan horses joined the event. With other activities like the fiddle contest continuing it’s more than ever a can’t miss event.
  • The Wilder Dinner 2018, a Wilder Days addition 2 years ago, had Karen Grassle (Caroline on the NBC TV show) as the special speaker at the fundraising event. Funds raised were designated to restore an arm chair from the Rocky Ridge living room and a secretary desk that belonged to Rose.
  • There is now a Butterfly Garden in front of the main museum building – 4,500 square foot of plants designed to attract and support butterflies. Volunteer Susan Essman force behind the establishment of this new attraction.
  • Fittingly a tribute to Jean Coday takes up a good chunk of the front page. Coday passed away last fall. She had first become involved with the Wilder home in the 1960s and had been the driving force behind what happened there for the last couple of decades.

Sadly there is also notice that this is the last issue in paper. They will be available as PDF from now on. This is unfortunate because Laura site newsletters are more than brief mentions of coming events and headlines of news that can be deleted or thrown away without a second thought. Laura site newsletters talk about recent research, hows and whys of restoration and conservation methods at the site, first hand accounts of major Laura events. Several sites have offered back issues a popular item for sale. In short, Laura homesite newsletters are meant to be preserved and re-read. I know I do. However as a PDF they are always endangered by changing technology. Versions you print yourself are usually printed on typing paper, weaker than what printers use, and using ink that isn’t designed for long term retention. Other homesites have already made the switch for the same reason this is being made – paper newsletters are becoming more and more expensive. They are offering a paper version if you request it, but my guess is that these will also be the equivalent of printing it yourself. I’m very sorry to see this come, but they are at least continuing production which is not true of all the homesites that once had newsletters.

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

April 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

Rocky Ridge Farmhouse
Rocky Ridge Farmhouse

April is a big month for Laura Ingalls Wilder programs, but you don’t see as many events. There is the Spring Valley museum’s annual membership meeting on April 7th and one really big event in Mansfield.

Mansfield MO

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Literature Festival will take place on April 25th and 26th, 2019. It will partner with the author appearance in the Marshfield, Missouri’s Cherry Blossom Festival.

April 28, 2019 “Little House” Cast to gather at the Museum in Mansfield to cut the ribbon on a special exhibit – 2:00 pm

Reunion of the TV show cast – Full Festival Schedule – April 25-27, 2019

New Book

Credo: The Rose Wilder Lane Story by Peter Bagge just released. It’s a graphic novel version of Rose’s Life.

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