Springfield, Missouri: Part 2

While we were still visiting with family in Springfield, we decided to stay a couple of extra days, so we cancelled our RV reservation for Carthage, MO. The whole purpose of staying in Carthage was to be able to drive over to the Independence, Kansas, area where the Ingalls family lived for a short while. I decided I could just drive from Springfield because it only added about an hour or less to the drive. I would be gone most of the day. Jack borrowed one of his brother’s (Carl) cars, so he wouldn’t be stuck at the RV all day.

This past Wednesday we left the RV around 8:00 a.m. and I dropped Jack at his brother’s house. Then I headed west towards Independence, KS. It was a gorgeous day with full sunshine, deep blue skies, and a few white, billowy clouds. I drove to the Missouri/Kansas/Oklahoma state line on I 44 and then picked up Kansas State Hwy. 166. Even though it was a two lane road (nice, wide lanes with good, wide shoulders), it was an easy drive.

The land was either flat or gently rolling hills. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. Before I knew it, I was turning on the last couple of county roads completing the last few miles to the official Kansas home of the Charles Ingalls family. They lived about twelve miles southwest of Independence, KS, from 1869 to 1871. Mary, the oldest daughter, was five years old and Laura was three years old when they moved here. Carrie Ingalls, their third daughter, was born here.

The area in which the Ingalls family settled was Indian country. “Pa” (as Laura called her father in her books) had been told that the location would soon be open to white settlers. However, when they arrived this was not the case. It was discovered that their homestead was on the Osage Indian reservation, and they had no legal right to the land. They had just begun to farm when they heard rumors that the settlers would be evicted. They left preemptively in the spring of 1871. Those rumors may have prompted the Ingalls to leave. However, Laura’s parents needed to recover their Pepin, Wisconsin, land because the buyer had not paid the mortgage. Therefore, they left and headed back to Wisconsin.

On this site in Kansas is a recreation of the one room cabin in which the Ingalls family lived. This cabin was reconstructed by Laura’s vivid descriptions in her Little House On the Prairie book. The well on the site was dug by hand by Charles Ingalls with some help from his neighbor, Mr. Scott. The was instrumental in helping historian Margaret Clements discover the side of the Ingalls family homestead in 1969 on what was then the Horton farm.

Also on the site is the Wayside Post Office constructed in 1885. The Ingalls family had moved by then, however, William Kurtis moved it here in 1977 to save it from destruction and preserve it for the education of future generations. The Sunnyside Schoolhouse was built in 1871 about four miles from the Ingalls homestead, however the Ingalls children were too young at the time to have attended during their time in Kansas. Again, Mr. Kurtis moved the structure to this site in 1977 to preserve the building. It was their hope that children of future generations would be able to experience what school would have been like back in the late 1800s.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. Please read the information on the pics of signs. They explain further about some of the structures.

This farmhouse was built in 1880. The next photo is a close up of the sign in this photo. It has some interesting information on it. You probably will have to zoom in on the next photo, though.

This log cabin is a recreation of the Ingalls’ cabin.

Another photo of the old farmhouse. The farmhouse is where the museum and store are located.

This census page was found in the county courthouse. If you zoom in to the bottom left corner, you will see on the last four lines the names of the Ingalls family. If you have trouble, just look at the next two photos.

There is a restroom behind the farmhouse, and also some picnic tables behind the hand dug well. It’s a great place for a family picnic!

This is one of the smaller Laura Ingalls Wilder home sites. It doesn’t really take a long time to go through everything. That is, unless you are like me and like to read every word on every sign and every description with any artifacts. It probably took me a little over an hour to go through everything.

As I left and walked to my car, I noticed how quite it was out on that prairie. I could just imagine Laura and Mary running through the tall prairie grass playing. I got in my car with a smile on my face and headed back to Springfield.

So, for now ….. ” On the Road Again!”

Betty

Springfield Missouri: Part 1

We left STL May 9th and headed to southwest Missouri to visit Jack’s family in Springfield (his mom, brother, sister and brother-in-law). We had a wonderful time. It’s always great spending time with family!

We ate out several times with Jack’s sister, Carol, and her husband, Delano. We even played Mexican Train Dominos. I’m proud to say the girls won two out of the three games!

The whole family took Jack’s mom out for breakfast on Mother’s Day at Village Inn. Carol’s oldest son even joined us. It was good to see our nephew. We had a great time “catching” up with everyone.

We went over to Jack’s mom’s (Lill) apartment nearly every day. When visiting with Lill, one can always count on Skip Bo being involved. It’s a fun card game (you need to purchase a special set of cards). Lill is really good at this game and so is my husband. However, I am proud to say that I finally won a few games against those two this week!

Springfield is about an hour away from Mansfield, MO. Mansfield is the final home of author Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband, Almanzo, and daughter, Rose.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably remember me going to several places on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway last summer (see posts from August and September of 2018).

At the end of last summer, I only had three places left to visit from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life: Mansfield, MO; Independence, KS; and, DeSmet, SD.

One day I decided to drive down to Mansfield. Jack wanted to stay and spend time with his mom, so I went alone. It took about an hour to get there, but it was a beautiful day for a drive.

I had been to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield back in the late 1980s. My older sister had come to visit us, and we decided to take our kids there. Between us we had five children approximately between the ages of five and ten years old.

I remember our visit there but don’t remember much about the house or museum. I was probably too distracted by keeping an eye on my two boys and my sister’s kids to make sure they didn’t touch or break anything. 😂

This visit would be different for two reasons: I was by myself, and they had built and dedicated a new museum and parking lot in 2016. The house and museum are located on the actual property (called Rocky Ridge Farm, the name Laura and Almanzo gave it) that the Wilders purchased and moved to in 1894 and lived at until Laura’s death in 1957. Rocky Ridge Farm was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.

When you walk in the new museum, you are standing in a beautiful foyer.

I went in and paid my admission. They now have a short informational video you can watch. You can choose what you want to do first.

I decided to go to the farmhouse first because touring it is by tour guide only, and a tour was starting very soon. They do not allow visitors to take pictures inside the house. 😔 I did buy some postcards of the interior of the house. The pictures of the postcards aren’t very good, but at least they give you an idea of what the inside looked like.

You can see Laura’s bed in the bottom left of this picture and her two dressing tables.

This is the desk where Laura sat many hours working on the manuscripts for her books. She wrote all manuscripts by hand.

Behind the wall behind the couch in the previous photo is the Wilders’ library. It was a small area totally lined with book shelves which were packed full with over 300 books.

Visitors were not allowed upstairs in the farmhouse or the Rock House. As we walked by the stairs we could kind of see part of this room. I would have LOVED to sneak upstairs in both houses to take a look! Oh well…😞

Next, I went back to the Museum to watch the video. Then I walked around the museum. I always love to read the information cards in each display, and since my husband wasn’t with me, I could take all the time I wanted. The new museum is really nice. Here are just a few of the pics I took inside the museum (zoom in so you can read some of the information on the cards).

This is Pa’s fiddle!

Almanzo was a handsome young man.

Then, I drove a little further down the road to The Rock House (some call it the Rock Cottage). Daughter, Rose Wilder, had the cottage built as a gift to her parents. Laura and Almanzo lived there from 1928 to 1936. This is where Laura began writing her first book, the now famous Little House on the Prairie at the age of 65. Unfortunately, I could not take pictures inside, but I did get some shots of the outside.

The views of the countryside from each side of the cottage were beautiful!

You can see Almanzo’s spring house located in a ravine below the Rock House.

Here is a close up picture of the spring house. It was constructed of cement and gravel and used to keep butter and milk cool.

After leaving the farm, I stopped in Historic downtown Mansfield which is a small town with a population of a little over 1,200. It has a lovely little town square surrounded by several old buildings.

This is the Bank of Mansfield which was founded in 1892.

Lastly, I drove to the Mansfield cemetery where Laura, Almanzo, and Rose are buried. Their graves are outlined with some shrubs and a small chain fence.

After paying my respects, I drove back to Springfield and joined my husband and his mom for some dinner. There’s more to tell about our Springfield visit, but I’ll save it for the next installment: Springfield Missouri: Part 2.

So, for now ….. “On the Road, Again!”

Betty

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