Daytrippin: Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm
Put this day trip on your spring list of places to see in 2021.
Some of America’s best loved stories were written at a small farm in Mansfield, Missouri.The farm in Missouri was a step up for Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband Almonzo from their log cabin homestead in Minnesota.
Still standing beautiful on top of a hill, the stark white farmhouse is open to the public for tours where Ingalls Wilder wrote the timelessly popular Little House on the Prairie series of books that were later turned into a 1970s hit television series.
Laura, Almonzo, and their daughter Rose moved to Mansfield in 1894 and settled the 40 acre Rocky Ridge Farm, purchased with 100 dollars that they had hidden away on a six-week trek across the Midwest.
Fires destroyed their South Dakota home prompting them to move to Missouri. The farmhouse is a combination of the original log cabin that the family lived in their first winter at Rocky Ridge. The next year they transferred the log home up to the project that would become the farmhouse, with the cabin remains becoming the farmhouse’s kitchen.
Almonzo built the structure himself, hefting rock from the property to form the fireplace, and sourcing other materials off of the land. Little Rose grew up there and left Mansfield in pursuit of her own successful writing career. When she returned in 1928, she commissioned a rock sided house with modern amenities as a gift for Laura and Almonzo.
At 65 years old, and with the encouragement of Rose, Laura penned the first four Little House books in their new rock home. They lived there until 1936, when they chose to move back into the farmhouse, where the remainder of the series was written.
There is a walking trail through the woods that connects the two houses when one visits the farm. The farmhouse has Laura’s furniture on display, nicely restored, a beautiful collection of vintage sofas and writing tables. The home also has some of Almonzo’s fine woodwork and tools on display, as well as the famous “Pa’s Fiddle.” A built in corner library and big windows with window seats look recently lived in, a place you want to snuggle up with one of her books.
Located behind the farmhouse is the Rose Wilder Lane Museum. In the low parking lot sits a large, barn style bookstore. Beyond the farmhouse, visitors can view a working chicken coop and barn, and Laura’s replica vegetable garden.
The garden is a project that was donated and maintained by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. Many events at Rocky Ridge Farm have been cancelled, but for now fall festivals are still scheduled. The upcoming Wilder Days on October 9th & 10th commemorates Laura Ingalls Wilder, America’s favorite pioneer girl, and her cherished “Little House” books. Hear Pa’s fiddle, take a tour of the home and enjoy the grounds of Rocky Ridge Farm. They will have their 7th Annual Fiddle Off on this day as well.
Call ahead for updated tour information.
Toll Free: (877) 924.7126
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Historic Home and Museum
3060 Highway A
Mansfield, Missouri 65704
Hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm
March thru November
Adults 18 and over-15 dollars
Children 6-17-7 dollars
5 and under-free