Visiting Laura Ingalls Wilder

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I know why I love Amish things so much. I grew up reading about wagon trains, bread-baking, and gardening. There’s something special about the slower-paced way of life.

Yes, you guessed it: Growing up, I loved the Little House on the Prairie books! I read them many times, and some images are still in my mind—Pa circling his hands around Ma’s waist, wolves howling outside the log cabin, crossing a wide river, and Laura pushing her way through the tall cornstalks. (Can you picture those same scenes, too?)

You can imagine how thrilled I was when recently my husband and I visited Rocky Ridge—Laura and Almanzo’s home.

Rocky Ridge is about one-and-a-half hours northeast of Branson. My heart started pounding as soon as read “Mansfield” on the street sign. It was a real place! I wanted to pinch myself. Going there was the same to me as it would be taking my kids to Narnia.

The farmhouse at Rocky Ridge was mostly built by Laura and Almanzo themselves. A museum and bookstore have been added on. There’s also the Rock House a few miles away that their daughter Rose built for them.

A few of my favorite things in the farmhouse:

—The kitchen is tiny ,and the counters are very low. Laura was under five feet tall, and Almanzo built the kitchen to fit her. (I’m getting teared up again just writing that!)
—Right next to Laura’s bedroom was her writing room. In addition to a small desk, there was a fainting couch. Sometimes Almanzo would get up in the middle of the night and find Laura sleeping there because she’d gotten up to write but didn’t want to go back to bed for the risk of waking him. (I can relate!)
—The home and the furnishings are so very simple, and they’re exactly as Laura left them. She died Feburary 1957, and Rose opened the home to visitors just three months later.

Facts from the website:

In 1885, Laura Elizabeth Ingalls and Almanzo James Wilder were married August 25 in Dakota Territory by the Reverend E. Brown of the Congregational Church.

In 1894, Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder, with their daughter Rose, settled on Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, Missouri. They established a successful farm, built their own home, and settled down permanently in the Ozark hills. Rose grew up and moved away and became the well-known author, journalist, and world-traveler Rose Wilder Lane.

In 1932, Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first of her beloved Little House books, which described the pioneering of the Ingalls and Wilder families during the 1870′s – 1890′s. All of the nine manuscripts for these famous books were penned right here on Rocky Ridge Farm. Their publication made the Wilders well-known international literary characters.

The thing that surprised me the most was learning about Rose. It was Rose who inspired Laura to write her books, but Rose was also an accomplished writer herself. Rose was a writer, real estate agent, and journalist. In the late 1920s, she was reputed to be one of the highest-paid female writers in America.

At the height of her career Rose wanted to help her parents, so she built The Rock House. It was modern in every way. Almanzo and Laura lived there for eight years, and Rose lived in the farmhouse. When Rose moved to the east coast to be closer to her publisher, Laura and Almanzo lived in the Rock House where they stayed until their deaths.

Whew, those are a few of the things I learned! But in discovering them I also discovered a part of my childhood . . . and I got a glimpse into why I like things “not quite” Amish. Laura’s influence had something to do with that!


The winner of yesterday’s giveaway is Kira Saucedo! You should have an email awaiting you in your inbox regarding the details.

Today’s giveaway is Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley, courtesy of Tricia Goyer! To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. If you have trouble seeing the widget, try using a different browser (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, etc.). Only those in the continental U.S. are eligible to win. The winner will be announced on tomorrow’s blog post.

PLUS, don’t forget about the Pin & Win contest where you could win a media library of more than 40 books, CDs, and DVDs! More info here!

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Tricia Goyer (77 Posts)

Tricia is the author of more than 30 books and has published more than 500 articles for national publications such as Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman and HomeLife Magazine. She won the Historical Novel of the Year award in both 2005 and 2006 from American Christian Fiction Writers, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award in 2005. Tricia's co-written novel, The Swiss Courier, was a nominee for the Christy Awards.


  1. Jasmine Augustine says:

    Oh WOW! I would love to visit Laura’s home! My Mom read the Little House books to me while she was homeschooling my younger brother and I. I loved those books so much! I was always trying to dress up like Laura and pretending to be in a wagon train or pioneering.
    For awhile we lived in a small log cabin in Idaho that was 25 miles from town, a mile from the nearest neighbor, we had no electricity and the running water was cold. But it was the best time in my albeit short life! It was always my secret little fantasy that some time I might come around a corner and see Laura playing there…….

  2. We don’t live far from Mansfield! Thankful for the heritage left here! Kathleen

  3. I would LOVE to visit her home!!!!!! wow! thanks for sharing! I still love watching the reruns of “Little House on the Prairie” ……………..would love to win the book

  4. I loved “Little House on the Prairie” growing up both the books and the TV shows (it was one of the only shows I was allowed to watch). I was so excited to share it with my daughter. She love audio books so I gave her the audio version within 20 minutes she came downstairs and said, mom I don’t like this book, all they do is chores all day. I was crushed!

  5. The family would really like to visit this place sometime. Thanks for sharing, the houses are so cute, I would love to live in one like that!
    I pinned this article.

    What’s up with no name for the winner? Would love to know who it was.

  6. WOW! I would love to visit here some time. I have been to her childhood home in Wisconsin, well it’s not the ACTUAL cabin, but the general area. I have been fascinated by Laura and her books since my mom first read Little House in the Big Woods to me when I was in grade school. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Katie Johnson says:

    I have always loved The Little House on the Prairie books and television show. It would be so much fun to visit Rocky Ridge someday. Thanks for sharing.. I love anything that has to do with Little House.

  8. I’m a huge fan of the Little House books and show, too – although I was a little disappointed that the books were so different from the series (I saw it before I read the books). Still, they’re both American classics. So inspiring! We might just have to take a family trip out there someday. Thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂

  9. Cheryl Baranski says:

    OH wow, how I would love to go there to see her home and the museum.
    I also grew up watching Little House and The Waltons. I was blessed many years ago
    to be able to see the Walton’s home and museum and store.
    One day I hope to see Laura”s home and museum.
    Thank you for sharing.

  10. My aunt took my cousins and me to visit Rocky Ridge when we were teenagers. She also took us to the Ingalls homestead at De Smet, South Dakota. Both places were so cool!

  11. This was so fun! I read all those books to Jayme when she was young. Thanks for the tour.

  12. Shaun Paulsen says:

    I use to watch this show on TV. It was one of my favorite shows.

  13. Amy Strickland says:

    I am a fan of Laura Ingalls too. Enjoyed this blog.

  14. Oh, I’d love to go there! I love Laura Wilder, too!

  15. Jackie Tessnair says:

    Great blog post.I love Little House On The Prairie.I would love to visit there.Thanks for sharing.

  16. Susan Fryman says:

    Thank you for sharing, I’d never heard of this either. Sounds amazing.

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