When we were in Missouri in August, we re-routed our trip home to include a stop in Mansfield. It only added about 45 minutes onto our time, so no big issue in my mind. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo moved to Mansfield in 1894, which if you are a fan of the Little House books, you most likely know already. They settled on Rocky Ridge Farm. The house and a pretty nice museum are there now. I was confused as to how I’d lived in Missouri all those years and never paid the farm a visit, but I my dad informed me that we did stop at one point. I don’t remember this at all though.
Mansfield is a dot on the map and the house and museum are easy to find. There are guided tours of the house every half hour, no pictures though. The house was set up the same as when they lived there. They gave us all the history of how it was built, as well as details about Laura and Manly.
The Rock House is also available to tour. This is the house Rose built for her parents in 1928. It was a pretty modern house for the time. That was the first thing I thought when I saw the bathroom anyways. Then I read the brochure and it said how ultra-modern it was. They only lived in the house until 1936 though, choosing to move back to their farm house. The first four Little House books were written at the Rock House, with the rest being written in the farm house at Rocky Ridge.
The museum is a must see as well. A new, bigger building has been built in recent years. They’ve got a fairly large store, a video that plays about life on the farm (I made my kids watch because they aren’t familiar with the books), then onto the museum. There are a lot of items that belonged to the Wilder’s and Laura’s family. Pa’s fiddle is there. They have copies of the books in multiple languages. I liked the timeline that ran around the room though. It put events in her life on scale with other events in history.
My kids are not familiar with the books at all, but they enjoyed themselves. My set of books was still at my parents, so I had my mom send them to us. I’ve been trying to get the big one to read them. I’m still working on him and I’m not giving up. It’s fun to see how people lived and how everything was done before all the appliances we have today.
If you are in the area, I recommend a stop.