Like many young girls, I fell in love with the Ingalls family. I don’t remember how old I was when I first started watching Little House on the Prairie, but I was young. I’m well aware now that the TV show was based on real people but many of the stories were fictitious. That was my first introduction to Laura Ingalls Wilder and the pioneer spirit. Which is still one of my favorite times in our history. I was probably in my tween years when my mom gave me the Little House boxed set written by LIW. I’ve read those books a number of times throughout the years and am so excited that my kids are getting old enough to enjoy them now, too.
Back in 2006, the hubby & I talked about going on a road trip that summer. We were driving from Oregon to Minnesota & back. We were going to visit all the “normal” places – Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, etc. I had saved a brochure from the last time we went to Minnesota about visiting Walnut Grove. I looked into it & found a number of LIW sites. There was no doubt about it, we had to visit them on our trip. And we did. And I loved, loved, loved those parts of our trip. I actually loved most of our trip. We visited some fabulous parts of our beautiful country. The only thing I can really complain about was our 9 month old son who didn’t want to sleep at night – which got old by day 3 of our 21 days on the road.
I’m going to split my Walnut Grove pics into 3 separate posts like I did DeSmet. I posted my DeSmet pics first because coming from the west that’s where we visited first. But, the Ingalls family actually lived near Walnut Grove before moving to DeSmet. This post is about the beloved Plum Creek – probably one of the most well known creeks of all time.
LIW’s On the Banks of Plum Creek monument along the side of the road. I’m not sure why the monument had to made to look like a headstone, but I was happy to see it.
The monument says: “A dugout along Plum Creek SE of this point was the childhood home of LIW, who wrote On the Banks of Plum Creek widely known as a children’s story. The book tells actual incidents of pioneer life here and in Walnut Grove, including blizzards and a grasshopper plague in the 1870’s. Laura’s parents were among the early settlers of North Hero Township.”
Not too far from the monument is this sign that says this was the location of the Ingalls Homestead in 1874. The land is privately owned, but the owners are kind enough to let Laura fans visit this home of hers. I am very thankful for good people like them & hopefully all visitors are respectful so many more fans can visit.
Suspended over Plum Creek is a bridge. The bridge leads you to this site of Laura’s dugout home on the banks of Plum Creek. The sign says: “The Charles Ingalls family’s dugout home was located here in the 1870’s. This depression is all that remains since the roof caved in years ago. The prairie grasses and flowers here grow much as they did in Laura’s time, and the spring still flows nearby.”
I am standing on what the experts believe is the rock Laura refers to as Big Rock. I don’t enjoy having my photo taken, so there aren’t a ton of pics of me on this road trip. But, I had to have my picture taken here. The hubby and the kids didn’t give a hoot about LIW. We were here because I wanted to visit. It was so special, I can’t even explain it. Laura’s spirit sunk into my heart even deeper on that warm July day.
We didn’t stay here long, but it was probably my favorite LIW place we visited. It was quiet, virtually undisturbed & just felt like Laura to me.
More from our 2006 visit to Laura sites:
Historic House Tour in De Smet
Ingalls Homestead in De Smet
Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant in De Smet
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove
Wilder Pageant in Walnut Grove