Monday, September 24, 2007

Walnut Grove

Yes, That's THE WALNUT GROVE. On our way home from Madison, S.D. we stopped at Walnut Grove, Mn. Our daughter is a real Little House on the Prairie fan. She asked us if we got a chance to go, would we take some pictures for her. Well, Tom sure enough took pictures. About 150 of them. The town itself was not much bigger than Waterville, N.Y. Probably smaller. I think we took a picture of the population sign.

We started at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. You go into the main building where you buy the tickets, get your map, and any other instructions you need, which also houses the gift shop. Off you go on the tour of the different buildings. First you go to what is called Laura's Room. It has so much information. There is a corner for genealogy, with pictures of her grandparents and other family members. It tells where they came from and when they came to America. From there is goes to parents and siblings, with lots more pictures. Pictures are labeled Ma and Pa Ingalls, etc. We found out that Mary really was blind. There is a case where the newspaper at that time wrote about Mary being ill, and her eyesight was failing. The next couple of papers had article saying how they went to Mankato to see the doctors to get her some help, and one more that said her sight was now gone.
If you remember the show, the store owners were the Olson family. Actually their last name was Owens. There is a number of photos of the real family, as well as others from the town. Some of them were mentioned in the show. It was so interesting to see the real people and know they really existed. They also had the fireplace mantle from the show. The one with the initials of Charles and Caroline. CI-CI. That was cool to see.
The room was filled with pictures and memorabillia. You can actually see her grow up. They have pictures and info on Laura and Almonso Wilder. From the time they were young til they were quite old. There are also pictures of their daughter Rose. She was married, but there is no mention of any children. There is mention that she left some items to her lawyer. So as far as I can figure, Laura's line ended with her daughter.
After that we went to the other exhibits. They have a miniature one room school, with slates and primers. There is also a small church resembling the church of the time, with a pump organ you could try to play. Then it was on to the Heritage Building. It showed how life was at that time, with covered wagon, utensils, etc. Lots of the pioneer stuff. The was also a house there called Grandma's House. It was furnished with pieces of a time years after the Ingalls family had left the area.We ended with a trip to the gift shop where we bought a few items, and called it a day.
It had been raining for most of the day, so we left the rest till the next day. Actually, we may have saved the best for last. The next day we went to the sight of the Ingalls' family sod house. This is where they lived during the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek". All that remains is a depression in the bank. You can actually see where the house was. You can see how they dug out the bank, and how they picked a spot high enough so they would stay dry. There are markers to show where the spring still runs into the creek, and what Laura called the "Big Rock" in her book. No one knows the site of the little house they built, but can guess the approximate location, or what part of the farmers field it may have been in. The fields around the site have been planted with native prairie seed, but the rest of the area is up to date farm. To get to the site, you have to drive up to the barn, pay $4.00 per car, and drive out to the site. You can get a pretty good idea how far they had to walk to school. It was at least a mile. Of course, they could walk across the prairie.
Then it was time to go back, hook up the Tracker, and head back to St. Cloud. I forgot to mention that we stayed at Plum Creek Campground. It was county owned, with nice wide sites. Just before the turn into the campground was the area where they hold the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant every summer. For 2 week-ends every July they perform this program. From what we have learned, it is a very nicely done festival.
We hope you all enjoy the photos we add, and don't forget to check the ones from our trip to the Corn Palace. Tom was having some trouble with the connection. All is down loaded now. We have quite a few fellows in the campground now that work for the pipeline being installed here. I think we are all really working at the same time on our computers. What with the storms going through, we have had a rough few days with the internet. We just have to do things early in the morning. That's easy enough.

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