Laura Ingalls Wilder Week: The Comfortable Home

Last week was spring break for me, so I took the time off to visit my dad and my grandmother, who is ill with cancer, in Missouri. My grandma finished her last radiation treatment while we were there, so we are hoping that things look good and that she’ll start to get stronger and be able to care for herself again.

While there, my dad took us to the Laura Ingalls Wilder house in Mansfield. I have been wanting to visit this historic site for some time, but we were last there during Christmas, and the house is not open until March 1. I had good timing for this trip, and we took a day to visit the site.

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So this week on my blog, I’ll be posting all about that day trip and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

There are two homes that belonged to the Wilders in Mansfield. One is a more “comfortable” home, as described by the tour guide, on a beautiful knoll overlooking the town. It is white and the rooms are cobbled together. They built each room as they could, and the kitchen was moved over from another cabin. It contains all of the furniture and items left behind by Laura and Almanzo, as they left them. The kitchen counters were lower than ordinary because Laura only stood 4’11” and they custom built the kitchen for her. There is a neat pass-through window to the dining room that directly reaches the table. On that table were birthday cards sent to Laura for her 90th birthday. That room also contained the clock that is featured as a Christmas gift to Laura from Almanzo in one of the books. The caretakers of the property keep winding it, and it is still running.

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The bedroom they shared was painted a nice rich Kelly green. They had separate twin beds, but we were told that when Almanzo died, Laura took to sleeping in his bed. In a small adjoining room, we saw the desk where she wrote the books. It was her “writing room” and she began writing there after the first four books were already written. She wrote those in the other house, which I will describe in another post. The desk still had letters and correspondence with publishers on it.

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In the living room, there was a beautiful little corner enclosed with bookshelves about 5 feet high. This was their library, filled with wonderful books. I recognized one as a Dorothy Whipple, a delightful novel called Because of the Lockwoods. Next to that was a small alcove that was Laura’s music room with an organ. I wished I could have sat down and played it, but that tour guide kept a close eye on our large group and wouldn’t let us touch anything! There was also a loft, which was roped off and we couldn’t see. He told us there was a guest bedroom up there that their daughter Rose stayed in.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the other home. It was delightful to be able to visit the home of one my favorite authors.

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37 thoughts on “Laura Ingalls Wilder Week: The Comfortable Home

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  1. When I finish the Green Gables Read-Along hosted by Reeder Reads, I plan to read all the Little Prairie books. Yet another juvenile series I’ve not read! 🙂 I’ll be interested to see the future posts this week. Very cool!

      1. Lots to see and do in and around Concord. Author’s Ridge / Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (where Alcott, Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne and buried), Concord Museum, Emerson’s house, Walden Pond, Old North Bridge (site of the famous Revolutionary War battle). Plan a trip when you visit the wonderful city of Boston — so rich in history, writing and academia.

  2. What a lovely post! Thanks for sharing your photos and visit. Best wishes for your grandmother – I hope the treatment is successful and that she recovers soon.

    I would love to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house one day, but reading your posts is the next best thing. 🙂

    It looks like a cozy house! I look forward to reading your post about the other house. Do you know why they had two houses in the same town?

    How strange that as a married couple, Laura and Almanzo had separate twin beds. I wonder if that was common for married couples in those days.

    1. I think the separate beds were common. I think I explain the two houses in the next post, but it was that their daughter built a fancier one for them and they later built this one.

  3. What fun! And, I had no idea Laura was so small!
    My daughter and I read this entire series a few years ago, and we both loved it. As a child, I had only read the first three books, so it was just as much fun for me as it was for her.
    One of the best things about visiting old houses, villages, and school houses is checking out the bookshelves!

  4. I’m so sorry I missed your visit. I got conflicting reports on when the “concert” was going to be held and got there after you’d gone. Maybe next time! I’m glad you got to go to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home. I took your grandma and my mom there a few years back, and we enjoyed it immensely! Also a good visit: Mark Twain’s Hartford, CT home, which is next door to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s home. You can tour both, and both are terrific! Come back soon!

    1. I am sorry I missed you too! That “concert” terrified me, but Dad said it was just Grandma being funny. I played for her but was worried about the whole nursing home being there. They weren’t. Phew! 🙂 I am already missing Missouri so I’ll be back soon.

  5. I got to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home many years ago, so this is bringing back memories! Strangely enough, what I remember best is the position of the shower nozzle — it was extremely low to accommodate Laura’s height, and it made me cheerful since I was also short.

  6. Emily, thanks for the road trip details, I haven’t read her books but know much about their success. And what great news about your nana. Much appreciate your commentary.

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