Laura Ingalls Wilder spent much of her childhood moving across the Midwestern frontier, an experience she made famous in her "Little House on the Prairie" book series, which has sold over 40 million copies. The Ingalls eventually settled in De Smet, South Dakota, while Wilder herself settled in the Missouri Ozarks with her husband and daughter.
"The family was quite nomadic," notes Pamela Smith Hill, editor of Wilder's annotated autobiography "Pioneer Girl."
For fans looking to explore Laura Ingalls Wilder's life off the page, there are several historic sites scattered across the Midwest.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museums & Markers
Pepin, Wisconsin - Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
The woods of "Little House in the Big Woods" are just outside Pepin, Wisconsin, where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867. A re-creation of the Ingalls' log cabin is available to tour from May 15 to October 15.
De Smet, South Dakota - Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes & Discovery Center
De Smet, South Dakota is the "Little Town on the Prairie," and some of the buildings mentioned in Wilder's stories are still standing, including The Surveyor's house. Also in De Smet is the Ingalls home, which Charles Ingalls built in 1887. Laura herself never lived there but many of the family's possessions are on display in the home. De Smet's Discovery Center also offers original exhibits on the Ingalls family and the history of the area.
Walnut Grove, Minnesota - Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Laura and her family landed in Walnut Grove in 1874. The Walnut Grove museum's collection is housed in a series of historical structures, including a replica dugout house, an onion-domed house, a school house, an early settler home and a covered wagon.
Mansfield, Missouri - Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum
Visit Laura's beloved Rocky Ridge Farm. The historic homes and museum in Mansfield hold the largest collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder memorabilia. The New York Times declared: "The house is bursting with treasures - a must detour for lovers of the Little House books."
Independence, Kansas - Little House on the Prairie
The Ingalls family settled in Independence in 1869, and the small Kansas town became the inspiration for the "Little House on the Prairie." A re-created log cabin sits on what is believed to be the original site of the Ingalls home. The site is open for tour May through October.
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