The Birthplace of Carrie Ingalls

Billboards really work!

My husband and I took a vacation to Denison, Texas to do a little research for my novels (and, to be honest, to get away from single digit temperatures in Kansas City). On the way home, we drove by a sign in southern Kansas that said, “Little House on the Prairie.” Of course, my first thought was Wait! THE little house on the prairie?

I looked it up using my trusty smartphone and, sure enough, we were near Independence, Kansas—the site of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was a three-mile detour. How could we not stop?

Of course, the original log cabin had long been gone, but they’d built a replica. Was it ever tiny! It’s hard to imagine five people living in a house smaller than most “tiny homes.” If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that along with Ma, Pa, Laura, and Mary, little baby Carrie lived in this cabin as well. They only lived there for about a year, but it was while living in their little log cabin that the Ingalls family had several encounters with people from the Osage tribe whose hunting areas were right next door!

This barn is obviously a late addition to the property, but the owner painted a quilt square on the side that has meaning for Laura fans. Laura made a quilt using this pattern–Doves in the Window–and when Almanzo first brought Laura to their first home, it was waiting for her on the bed.

A few other historic buildings have been moved to the site—a schoolhouse, a post office, and a farmhouse that serves as the gift shop and museum for the site. Would it be worth driving to Independence to see the Little House on the Prairie? Only if it’s on your way to somewhere else. But if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth the stop.

The well Pa Ingalls dug in 1869!

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