Homesites Open for the Season 2013

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.

Pepin, WI – Opens May 15, 2013

Kitchen Display at Pepin
Kitchen Display at Pepin

Independence, KS – Opened April 4, 2013

Walnut Grove, MN – Museum opened April 1, 2013. Dugout Site not open until 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.

Burr Oak, IA – Opened April 1, 2013, Mon.-Sat.  10am-4pm, Sun. 12-4, After Memorial Day Mon.-Sat. 9am-5pm, Sun. 12-4. (Note: This fall their schedule will change slightly they’ll be open Tues.-Sun after Labor Day until the close of the season Oct. 13th.)

De Smet, SD –
Memorial Society – Open in April Mon.-Fri. 9am-4pm, in May Mon.-Sat. 9am-4pm, June-August 9am-5:30pm

Ingalls Homestead – Opens Memorial Day Weekend, Sat., May  25, 2013 for regular 9am -7pm every day with activities from 10am -6pm  schedule. They are hosting school visits M-F beginning April 29.  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 1st, 2013

Malone, NY – Opens Saturday before Memorial Day, Sat., May 25, 2013 and then open 7 days a week. I asked and they said the one-room school replica exterior is now done, they still hope to get more for the interior.

Spring Valley, MN – Opens May 18-19 from 10-4 each day for the Wilder Fest. Then starts regular hours on Memorial Day Weekend, Sat., May 25, 2013.

Keystone, SD – Opens June 1, 2013

Vinton, IA – Since they are kind of in a different situation, being part of an institution that has to be open all year. They don’t have stated open hours, but will gladly give a tour by appointment. Pat Barr wrote “We have Little House Site Tours on the following dates starting at 9:30 a.m.:  July 16, August 5, and September 23.  Anyone is welcome to join us.  Also, we will give a tour any day Monday through Friday.  Because the Old Main roof construction will not be done now until sometime in November, people might want to call for directions/assistance into the building.  They may call Justin Ruegg at 319-472-5221, Extension 1226 or myself at 319-472-5221, Extension 1110.”

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Ozark Watch Mansfield Pageant

Mansfield Pageant
Mansfield Pageant

I mentioned that I was looking for a particular Ozark Watch episode and that’s how I found the ones about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield’s future plans and the one on Rock Architecture, but I finally found the one I was looking for and this is it, it’s on the Ozark Mountain Players and Laura’s Memories Pageant.  The episode features four guests and talks about the history of the pageant. If you’ve only been to the pageants in Walnut Grove and De Smet, as great as they are, you’re missing out a great and totally different experience. I hope you can plan a trip to Mansfield during the pageant soon.

http://video.optv.org/video/2332656262

Opening scene repeats later in the episode until 1:04

Dale Moore the host does the introduction.

First 2 guests, Terry Spyres, the playwright, and Pat Allen, the composer and lyricist.

The pageant started in 1974 as part of Wilder Day. Their first production wasn’t Laura related it was a traditional Melodrama. (Includes photos) 3:00 Were then called the Silver Palace Players and started in the Legion Hall.

Stills of early shows, footage from last years show 5:30

Spyres worked at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum to get background, flavor, and find out what people’s favorite stories were. 6:30

Allen describes the creative process where Spyres would set up the scene and describe the kind of song she wanted and Allen would write the music. Their background was as elementary music teachers. 8:00

More footage of last year’s musical. The production isn’t static and is changed each year depending on make up of that year’s cast participants. Scenes evolve and some are new each year. 8:30

Muscians during performance 9:40

At least 7 families are 3 generations of participants 10:15

Talk about Neta Seal 13:15

Early photos including one of Garth Williams with the cast Alison Argrim, Kevin Hagen, and Dean Butler also get shoutouts 14:00

Switched interviewees to Eric Spyres, who has been with the group since melodramas was Pa for 1st 16 years, and Phil Bennett  more old photos 16:00

Phil Bennett tells how he got involved. 17:30

Talking about family connections in the stories and the pageant 20:00

Locations of pageant 22:00 (Truly the auditorium seating is the best of any of the pageants. Comfortable plus back support) Thanks to Hutchinson Industries for helping make the seating.

Learn More: http://www.laurasmemories.com/calendar-of-events/

UPDATE: Not a lot new to add here since this post is just from last year, it has been very popular. I’m still trying to get some of the folks behind the pageant to come on the podcast. I hope it works out soon. I’ll also point out that Phil Bennett who is one of those interviewed has commented on this post and also called in twice to my Laura Ingalls Wilder birthday episodes.

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 acting 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.

Ozark Watch Rock Architecture

Wilder Town House 1998
Wilder Town House 1998

Have the Buildings in Mansfield Struck You as Odd?

This is something I have wondered about on every trip to Mansfield.  As you are driving along you will notice lots of buildings covered with a red rock facing. It pretty clearly is a facing which always struck me as strange. Around where I live buildings made of stone are made of stone, big solid walls of it, but this appears to be always like a rock version of vinyl siding. I never could quite figure out the point.

The Wilder Town House

I was especially interested because Laura’s house in town, which was clapboard sided when she lived there (according to the “Just as I am Without One Plea” photo), and the Friendship House were both sided in this strange manner. It turns out that this is just a regionalism, that it was just something that people did and thought looked nice in the Ozarks. From the examples I know of and those given in the video it seems to have been most prominent in the 1920s-1930s-1940s. Was it just cheaper than vinyl siding? It MUST last longer. Maybe they think it looked nicer too? I don’t know.

Ask the Expert

The woman being interviewed in this episode of Ozark Watch is not, I’m sorry to say, a good public speaker, but hang with it anyway because it sounds like she really knows her stuff. They show both still images and video of various places, most with much more elaborate systems of rock architecture than I saw around Mansfield (apparently they dressed it up in Springfield, the big city). Be sure to check out at the 19:00 mark where they show an example of they called Raised Bead Mortar which is much more typical of what I see around Mansfield.

http://video.optv.org/video/1634683479

P.S. This isn’t the episode I was originally looking for either, that one doesn’t seem to be online yet. I’ll keep watching.

UPDATED January 30, 2016: I double checked the link and it still works. I broke it into paragraphs and added the headings. I made a couple of slight edits and added the 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.

Ozark Watch Presents Laura Ingalls Wilder

For those of you who don’t deal with PBS (Public Broadcasting System), they actually are part of a network of regional or in some cases statewide systems. In the area around Mansfield they are served by Ozark Public Television (OPT). While all the PBS stations show some of the same shows, and others are offered as an option nationally and others are only locally produced. One that is locally produced by OPT is a video magazine called Ozark Watch. This 29 minute show originally aired  October 16, 2011 and is called “Laura Ingalls Wilder Profile.” I found them checking for another feature that I didn’t find yet, but hope to be sharing soon, so check back. Note this is different from the documentary co-produced by Ozark Public Television and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum that is available through the Mansfield giftshop.

http://video.optv.org/video/2312545694

Comments:

This starts with an interview in a backyard that clearly a set. They start with Jean Coday, the director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum. She says she’s been on the board since 1960, I had no idea she’d been involved so long. The first few minutes are a tag that is repeated later. It really starts about 1:50 into the video. Her interview is interspersed with some of the wonderful images that form part of Mansfield’s collection that they have exclusive use rights to, given the Ken Burns moving photo treatment.

15:00 Video of Mansfield Museum interior, very excited to see this, normally you can’t film inside. Talk then turns to the future plans, they plan on adding a hen house with chickens, they have added a garden, and they hope to have a replica of the first cabin that was there when the Wilders arrived soon.

15:48 Current bookstore interior (they don’t let you take photos in there anymore either, at least I was told not to when I asked)

16:00 Footage of the interior of Rocky Ridge Farmhouse

18:00 Long Range Plans for the site. Then they bring in Daniel Hancock of Butler, Rosenbury & Partners to explain their master plan for the site.

20:00 Architectural drawing of the site drawing. From what I could see and what they discussed 1. Almanzo’s workshop is still there ♥ (from the tear down stuff they were talking about, I was afraid it was on the hit list. It really has the most interesting story of any outbuilding on the farm.) 2. The money for the library/archive building that they are working on as we speak comes from a USDA grant from what they said. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) would seem odd, but it’s the rural tourism angle, and grants are grants. 3. They have 5 of Laura’s complete manuscripts. 4. (And this would make more sense for USDA to be funding) they want to include hands on activities to learn about farming in the 1920s.

In all this gives a lot more information about their long range plan. This video has been out since 2011 presumably I don’t know why they haven’t pushed it more.

Read more about the plan here:
http://www.sketchyruminations.com/our_thoughts/2012/8/28/a-master-plan-for-the-little-house-homestead.html

UPDATE 2014: It has just been over a year since I originally posted this and things haven’t changed much. Since I posted this they have changed their website and now have it embedded on their homepage, but personally I think they are missing something not having my notes there. 🙂 So far they haven’t had luck gaining the funds that they’d hope they’d have. I’m not sure how long they have to USDA money and they haven’t yet broken ground on the site. They have been actively campaigning for their capital fund. If you want to contribute, check out their donation page.

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 acting 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.

Sanborn Maps in Iowa

Sanborn Maps are highly detailed maps of towns that were created by the Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. between 1883 and 1951. The idea was to determine the amount of risk there would be in insuring any particular building based on it’s surroundings. (What businesses surrounded it? Were buildings flush against each other or were they set back? etc?) Although the majority of the maps have passed out of copyright, what is easily available is another question. This differs from state to state. Some states or other groups have committed resources to scanning the maps for their area and uploading and maintaining them. ProQuest (a for profit digital content provider) has also scanned the maps and makes them available through a subscription. In Iowa access to the maps is provided through ProQuest. You just have to sign up for a card for the State Library of Iowa. Once you have your card number you can log on for free.

Find the link for the Sanborn Maps and other database sign ins here:
http://www.statelibraryofiowa.org/services/online-resources/resources

If you live in the state of Iowa, you can get a State Library Card here:
http://www.statelibraryofiowa.org/services/collections/gov-management/state-library-card/state-library-card2

In Missouri, they provide the maps from before 1924 for free through the University of Missouri libraries, without a card number:
http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/sanborn.htm
Look for Mansfield in 1913.

Homesites Open for Season

Independence Cabin Interior

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.

Pepin, WI – Opens May 15, 2012

Independence, KS – Opened April 1, 2012

Walnut Grove, MN – Opened April 1, 2012, Dugout Site not open until May

Burr Oak, IA – Opened April 1, 2012, Mon.-Sat.  10am-4pm, Sun. 12-4, After Memorial Day Mon.-Sat. 9am-5pm, Sun. 12-4

De Smet, SD –
Memorial Society – Open in April Mon.-Fri. 9am-4pm, in May Mon.-Sat. 9am-4pm, June-August 9am-5:30pm

Ingalls Homestead – Opens Memorial Day Weekend, Sat., May  26, 2012 for regular 9am -7pm every day with activities from 10am -6pm  schedule

Mansfield, MO – Opened March 1st

Malone, NY – Opens Saturday before Memorial Day and then open 7 days a week

Spring Valley, MN – Opens Memorial Day

Keystone, SD – Opens June 1, 2012