Plum Creek Park Camping

When the Prairie Whispers CoverLooking for a place to camp? Walnut Grove now has an online system to make a camping reservation.

If you don’t want to camp, still consider a visit. You can also get a tour guide booklet called through the museum gift shop.

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 ,    TwitterLinkedInSlideShare,  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 Events Around the Country 2019

It’s not always easy to find out about what’s going on for Laura Ingalls Wilder events around the country. I finally decided that current information is probably best posted on a month by month basis so for current information search this site for the name of the month you are looking for and the word event (for example July 2018 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events). Check out the page version of this post which I update with major changes.

Let me know if I’m missing any. Most of these events are annual, but check with the group hosting the event for exact dates for following years.

NOTE: The Little House on the Prairie website uses a more extensive definition of events then I do. So check them out for additional listings. As of February 17, 2019 they hadn’t yet posted their 2019 schedule, but I assume it is in the works.

Blue lake with a tree and grass on shore
Silver Lake October 2018

Pepin WI

Laura Days – September 14-15, 2019
Their big Laura event of the year it includes all manners of celebration of Laura including a Little Miss Laura contest, a regional fiddle contest, activities at the birthplace cabin, historic crafts, and Sarah Uthoff as a keynote speaker. The other keynote this year is Renee Graef.

Open 10 AM – 5 PM DAILY (including weekends & holidays) from May 1st thru Mid-October
Closed for the winter.

Independence KS

Prairie Days – Saturday, June 8, 2019 10am-5pm

Summer hours are March 1st to September 1st, everyday 10-5 pm.
Winter hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10-5 pm. starting in September till November 1st.

Walnut Grove MN

Fragments of a Dream Pageant

Museum/Pageant 2018 Brochure

  • July 5-6, 2019
  • July 12-13, 2019
  • July 19-20, 2019

The Little House on the Prairie Cast Reunion is July 12 and 13. Tickets for those nights of the pageant are $35 for Reserved Seats and $33 for General Admission.

Family Festival held in Walnut Grove City Park on pageant Saturdays
July 6, 12-13, and 20, 2019. The festival goes from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm Check the Walnut Grove website for full schedule and more details as it gets closer. 

July 11-14, 2019 they will have a Little House on the Prairie TV show cast reunion. They are still under negotiation so no cast list has yet been announced. Watch for more information. Check out my podcasts about my trip to the 2014 Walnut Grove Reunion.

A set up for working flax, flax break, combs etc
Working Flax at Laura Days – Black Cat Farm

Burr Oak IA

Spaghetti Supper InviteFind out more about their events.

Fri., Feb. 22, 2019 5:30 PM · St. Benedict Church Basement, Decorah, Iowa
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

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days  June 21-23, 2019

Fall Fest and Used Book Sale – Date to be Announced – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Birthday Parties can be scheduled by any group at any time.

Season opens May 1

  • Monday-Saturday: 10:00 – 4:00   Last tour 3:00
  • Sunday: Noon – 4:00 Last tour 3:00

Memorial Day – Labor Day

  • Monday-Saturday: 9:00 – 5:00  Last tour 4:00
  • Sunday: Noon – 4:00  Last tour 3:00

Post Labor Day – mid October:        

  • Thursday-Saturday: 10:00 – 4:00  Last tour 3:00 
  • Closed Sunday-Wednesday

De Smet SD

By the Shores of Silver Lake

  • July 5, 6, 2019
  • July 7 – 12, 2019
  • July 13, 14 – 19, 20, 21, 2019

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

Memorial Society

  • January-April: Monday thru Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • May: Monday thru Saturday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    Due to school field-trips our tour times will vary, please call ahead.
  • June-July: Monday thru Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
    Sunday 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM
  • August: Monday thru Friday 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
  • September: Monday thru Saturday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Closed Sunday
  • October-December: Closed over Christmas week,
    Monday thru Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    *Tentative tour schedule: 10 AM & 2 PM. Subject to change.

Ingalls Homestead

  • Spring Hours: Last week of April – May 23, Monday – Friday, Hours vary daily as we host school field trips.  It is best to contact us for details.  During our Spring season we are not open on the weekends.
  • Summer Hours: May 25 – September 2, Daily 9AM – 7PM
    Activities are offered from 10AM – 6PM
    The first covered wagon ride leaves around 10AM and the last one leaves at 6PM with rides leaving throughout the day.  We are open seven days a week throughout the summer, including Sundays and Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.
  • Fall Hours: September 4 – September 30, Daily 9AM – 5PM
    Activities are offered from 11AM – 2PM
  • October 1 – October 31, Daily 9AM – 5PM, weather permitting
    No activities offered, but the grounds, visitors center, and gift shop are open.
  • Winter Hours: The grounds are closed for the winter, but we are still in the office. If you would like to make a camping reservation, request information, or place a phone order, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone or email.

behind the barns

Spring Valley MN

  • Annual Meeting – April 7th
  • Spring Teas – May 11th (reservations required)
  • Opening Day – May 25th
  • Ice Cream Social – June 14 5-7 P.M.
  • Eliza Jane School House Days – End of July
  • AG Days Town Celebration – August 15-18
  • Seasonal Closing For Weekdays (Except by Appointment) – September 2nd
  • Seasonal Closing For All Days (Except by Appointment) – October 27th
  • Possible Winter House Tours

Almanzo 100 – Gravel road racing through the beautiful rolling countryside of Fillmore County, NE Iowa and SW Wisconsin – Has moved out of Spring Valley

They aren’t planning on continuing the Christmas Teas.

Other events [ Annual Ice Cream Social, Eliza Jane One Room School Days –Ag Days (town celebration) ] aren’t scheduled yet

Mansfield MO

Note: Recently Mansfield has been scheduling small events without a lot of notice. If this trend continues I will add them to list as soon as I find out about them. This year Mansfield has a theme – A Season With Rose.

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. 2:00pm

May 11, 2019  Justamere Graveyard Workshop [dealing with the cleaning of tombstones]
July 8 – 12, 2019 Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camp
July 24 – 28, 2019 Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camp

 

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association is excited to announce the addition of “Rocky Ridge Adventure Pioneer Camp” to our 2019 season! The camp will be for children ages (9-12) and we will offer two different weeks, June 24-28 and July 8-12. Camp will cost $50 per child and will include a week of exciting adventures around Rocky Ridge Farm. Campers will enjoy many learning activities, bringing a hands-on perspective to the pioneer lifestyle. This week of adventure will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily. There will be a special rate of $5 off each registration with 2 children or more. Camp will take place, rain or shine!! Your child will not want to miss this special week of historic fun and memories!!!! Register today and reserve your spot in the first summer camp to take place at Rocky Ridge Farm!! Registration cost includes 5 days of camp, tin cup, badge, book, shirt and a hat (bonnet for girls and coon skin cap for boys). Download the Registration Form here 2019 Camper Registration Form For more information, call 417-924-3626.

August 2, 2019 7:00pm – Sunset Serenade with Pa’s Fiddle
September 20, 2019 – in the Evening: Annual Wilder Benefit Dinner- Special Guest Alison Arngrim – not sure on the time  yet
September 21, 2019 – Wilder Day and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Fiddle Off
November 15, 2019 – Season with Rose comes to an end.
December 7, 2019Christmas with Laura 6:00pm

 

The Ozark Mountain Players has not yet set pageant dates this year, but they always do several shows of Laura’s Memories Pageant during Wilder Days.

Malone/Burke NY

Find more on events.

Annual Board Meeting where any member may attend Saturday, January 12, 2019, 9:00am Malone Lodge of the Elks, Elm Street Malone RSVP by farm@almanzowilderfarm.com or 518-483-0774.

Celebration of Youth and Morgan Horse – July 20, 2019

  • Children’s art on display, along with students’ essays. Award ceremony and the announcement of Honorary Laura and Almanzo
  • Kids art activities, 19th century games, vendors, food
  • Entertainment & more!

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!

Annual Harvest Festival & Civil War Living History Encampment – September 28-29, 2019

  • Civil War living history encampment
  • Pumpkin painting and children’s 19th century game in the orchard, children’s corn pit in the barn,
  • 9th Annual “As Time Passes” adult juried art show on display
  • Entertainment, demonstrators, craft & produce

Sept. 29, 2018 Open extended Sunday hours 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Civil War reenactors living history encampment and one skirmish. Regular admission and guided tours available. Last tour at 3:00 pm.

Christmas with Almanzo  – December 7, 2019

  • Children’s  craft activities
  • Farmer Boy Christmas chapter readings, carol singing.

ALL EVENTS AND TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

Vinton IA

Tours are not currently available. We are in doubt of future events due to uncertainty of the future of the building.

Keystone SD – Longtime Home of Carrie Ingalls Swanzey

Carrie Ingalls Swanzey’s Birthday Party – Date Unknown

William T. Anderson

March 5, 2019 – Marysville Public Library, MI

April 25-27, 2019 – Cherry Blossom Fest, Marshfield, MO, Children’s Lit Fest, Panel with Little House on the Prairie TV show stars

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

American Printing House for the Blind – Louisville, Kentucky

They alternate between a Mary Ingalls party and a Louis Braille party. This year is Mary’s turn. Find out more about their other events.

MARY INGALLS: THE FRONTIER YEARS
Saturday, January 5, 1:00-3:00 pm

“My sister Mary is the reason I am a writer,” said Laura Ingalls Wilder, the celebrated author of the Little House books. Mary lost her sight at the age of fourteen, and Laura became her sister’s eyes, describing the world around her so her sister could “see” as well. Without her sight, Mary was expected to perform her share of the tasks in a frontier family home – housecleaning, cooking, laundry, sewing, looking after children. How did she do that? Our guest exhibitors and presenters are some of our museum friends who are blind or visually impaired. We’ll also sing along with some of Pa’s fiddle tunes, weave a beaded bracelet (the same as those Mary made for her sisters), and celebrate Mary’s birthday with a cake made from Ma’s recipe. Dressing as characters in the Little House books is encouraged. Free to the public but space is limited so registration is required. Call 502-899-2213 or email kcarpenter@aph.org to register. For all ages.

Pomona Public Library – Pomona CA

53nd Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread Sociable – Wednesday, February 6, 2019 3:00PM.
There will be a craft and refreshments provided by the Daugthers of Utah Pioneers who’ll talk about life and sponsored by Friends of the Pomona Public Library.

Old World Wisconsin – Eagle WI

In August 2018 Old World Wisconsin announced that they felt people were getting too focused on events (which frankly is a strange reason to give museum/festival events in general are less of a draw than they were even a few years ago so if they said low attendance was while they weren’t scheduling any would make a lot more sense) and so they are focusing more on on-going activities. I think it will probably return eventually as it has disappeared, returned, stretched to over a month, and shrank back to combined with a single event weekend. However, apparently not this year.

Heritage Hill – Green Bay WI

They are not doing a Laura Ingalls Wilder event this year. Last year they said their plan was to have a Laura event every other year going forward. This would be the year and they don’t have one scheduled. They are working on their 2020 schedule and are considering a prairie days event, but an inquiry brought the response that so far nothing is decided.

Genesee Country Village and Museum – Mumford, NY

This year they won’t be having Wilder Weekend they are replacing it with “Novel weekend – Lewis Carroll.”

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum – West Branch, Iowa

Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered – Sunday, September 1, 2019 2pm
Sarah S. Uthoff

Colt on Ingalls Homestead
Colt on Ingalls Homestead

National Cowgirl Museum – Fort Worth, Texas

The National Cowgirl Museum previously had held an annual event, but stopped having it. They brought it back for the 150th as a one shot. This year they are closing for a remodel for February and March and don’t seem to have any events scheduled so far.

Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival – Marshfield, Missouri

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

Conference

LauraPalooza July 8–10, 2019, Onalaska, WI

UPDATED March 5 2019: I added the Spring Valley dates.

UPDATED March 29 2019: I added the LauraPalooza Conference.

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.

Ep 100 Laura Ingalls Wilder Fandom Roundup 2018

Sarah by Ma's House - Ingalls Homestead
Sarah by Ma’s House – Ingalls Homestead

I FINALLY got another episode done on the podcast. This one is rounds up all the news of what happened in Laura Ingalls Wilder fandom this year.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2019/02/26/ep-100-laura-ingalls-wilder-fandom-roundup-2018

A small group stripped Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name off the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.

Independence has built a new cabin, replacing the original.

We now have china shepherdess replicas available again. Pick from Independence, KS; Mansfield, MO; Walnut Grove, MN.

Pioneer Girl released as ebook by South Dakota State Historical Society Press.

Alison Arngrim (NBC TV show’s Nellie Oleson) is doing a positive news interview show on Facebook.

Walnut Grove, Minnesota was hit hard by the July 2018 flood.

Queen’s Treasure introduced a Mary Ingalls doll.

American Writers Museum opened with a Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibit in their temporary hall. It was extended from an original closing date in March to June.

The Iowa School for the Blind was combined with the School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs. They’re still unsure about what’s going to happen to the buildings and the Mary Ingalls Society.

The museum in Mansfield, MO has extended its connection to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, MO. They added a luncheon to fund raise for the museum. Unfortunately a fire alarm went off during it for about 10 minutes.

I took a trip to DeSmet in the fall, but didn’t give them enough warning to get inside photos at the Memorial Society, but had a great trip anyway.

There was a new edition of the Little House Cookbook.

Also check out things released this year in the Christmas shopping guide and our list of 2018 events.

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.

Pa’s Bell at Walnut Grove

Church bell in Belfry
Lutheran Church in Walnut Grove with Pa’s Bell

I recently reposted a video I had made of long-time Walnut Grove leader Shirley Knakmuhs ringing Pa’s church bell on Facebook.

From the TV Show

I got an interesting comment from “Nellie” from the TV show.

Quote from facebook December 15, 2018:

Alison Arngrim This real one is SO MUCH nicer than the fake one “Tinker Jones” “made” on the show! LOL. Ours was fiberglass and just went “thunk, thunk, thunk”.

Now I’ll “thunk, thunk, thunk,” every time I see that episode.

Walnut Grove Bell

The original Congregational Church building was torn down decades ago. Today the bell lives in the belfry of the English Lutheran Church in Walnut Grove. Unfortunately the design they chose for their belfry makes it difficult to see or photograph the bell well. The bell is rung every Sunday with the service alternating between 8:30 am and 10:30 am. During the Laura season the church is sometimes open or you’ll find someone who’ll let you in and you’ll hear the bell ring other times.

Red Church Bench in Museum
Congregational Church Bench

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove has a bench believed to be from that original Congregational Church. For a long time it was in the small church built on museum grounds, but today it’s inside the Laura building at the museum.

Church tower pulled up in air with rope at Walnut Grove Pageant
Pageant Chruch Building

You can also see a recreation of the building of the church of each night of the Walnut Grove pageant Fragments of a Dream. The town comes together and dramatically pulls up the bell tower.

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.

AirBnb in Walnut Grove and Other Lodging

If there is one thing that would make Walnut Grove a better place to visit, it would be for there to be a good place to spend the night in town. Traffic would be slow most of the year I think, but June, July, and August would be bursting at the seams. It would be good for the town also since spending a night in a place statistically increases the amount of money you spend there which helps keep businesses that support tourists going. Having a place to stay lined up as early as possible is a key to a successful Walnut Grove visit.

Sign and depot building at Laura IngallsWilder Museum in Walnut Grove
Walnut Grove Museum

Lodging Options

Most of the “Walnut Grove” lodging options take you out of town. Personally for many years I got to stay with Shirley Knackmuhs who ran a sort of free bed and breakfast for Laura people, but sadly those days are gone. See comments on where else I’ve stayed at the bottom.

(Personally I’ve often wished that some of the same laws that cover temporary hotels or camps in Europe were in effect here since from what I’ve seen on travel shows they have a lot more leeway for setting up temporary options. I could easily see “rooms” set up in a barn or even some of the public buildings in town if health/fire regulations easily allowed it — but as it they don’t.)

AirBnb

Walnut Grove as a community have recognized this need for lodging and have struggled with a way to meet it. A definite step in the right direction is the addition of two AirBnbs. The one that’s already listed on the museum’s lodging page is Half-Pint’s Hideway and allows you to rent an entire 3 bedroom house.

The second one which I think will soon be listed there is Little Room on the Prairie which is a double bed in a single bedroom.

There were several others listed in the surrounding area which I hadn’t known were available until I did a search for this post. So they would be another option.

Honestly I have issues with AirBnbs for economical and civics reasons I won’t dwell on here, but with them in Walnut Grove I’ll probably be swallowing my principles and staying in one sooner or later. I have to admit that in the specific situation of a town with a focused short run of tourism each year most of those reasons I have for objecting don’t really apply and for Laura towns this might actually be a great choice for the owners/hosts, the towns, and the tourists.

Personal Experiences

Within the last 5 years I’ve stayed at two hotels in the immediate area around Walnut Grove. The Wilder Inn, which had nice rooms even if they were small, but, since I’d grayed my hair, forced me to take a cold water shower. (I think it was a temporary problem because I haven’t heard that complaint from other people although staff were sparse on both information about what was happening and on concern that I didn’t have any hot water.) However, the speed in which you could get to and from Walnut Grove made the inconveniences worth it and on that account alone I recommend it highly if you can get a reservation. Understand what the Wilder Inn is though. It’s one of the second generation of motels (in between the stand alone tourist cabins my grandparents honeymooned in and the single level hotels with doors that opened right to your parking spot that were just starting to age out of my youth – if you want to see either they have a great display of them at the Henry Ford). It’s been upgraded several times since then, but that’s its bones so don’t expect more than it can give. I’d also recommend grabbing breakfast at the Subway across the street in Tracy if it’s a big attendance day in Walnut Grove and at Nellie’s in Walnut Grove if it isn’t.

I also stayed at the motel in Springfield, Minnesota which is 25 miles from Walnut Grove. While you could see it had been built as a nice hotel (for the size and area) it really hadn’t been kept up and is off the Walnut Grove lodging page. I liked the town though. I was sorry the hotel hadn’t been kept up. Since it’s no longer listed on the lodging page I mainly mention it because the distances are listed on the lodging page and Springfield was 25 miles away. I ended up wanting something I left back in the room and just one added trip seemed to take forever and that’s someone who’s always lived in the country so I’m used to driving. The closer you can get the better.

I have stayed in several of the hotels along I-90 when I was driving part way to Walnut Grove and staying over to get an early start in the morning, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that if you’re planning on coming back to Walnut Grove the next day OR if you’re planning on staying for the pageant.

Camping

I’m not really a camper, but if you have a tent and like to camp or an RV it means that you can get some of the closest places to stay in any of the Laura towns. So if that’s an option for you, seriously consider it for most Laura towns especially Walnut Grove, Minnesota and Burr Oak, Iowa where there really aren’t any/many other “in town” options.

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.

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.

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.