Most of us have heard of the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the television show from the 1970s called “Little House on the Prairie”, starring Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon. Although the TV family lived in Walnut Grove, Minnesota for most of the series, Wilder describes the Ingalls’ Kansas home in her books and historical records show that the Ingalls lived near Independence for about a year, leaving Kansas in 1871.
During a trip to Independence last weekend, I stopped by the homestead of the famous family.
On the property of the re-created Ingalls cabin, a post office and one room school-house, both from the early 1870s, have been moved onto the property and give visitors an up-close view of the 19th century buildings.
To say the one room cabin is “rustic” is an understatement. It wouldn’t be livable by today’s standards. But, back in the 1800s, settlers built their homes out of what materials were available on the land – logs, rock and mud. It’s amazing that 5 people (Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura and Carrie) could live in a cabin similar to this one.
The Wayside Post Office, like the school, was probably moved to this location after it was decomissioned. Did the postmaster actually live at the post office?
The Sunnyside school operated from 1872 until 1947. It’s hard to believe that teachers were able to teach different grades in the same room.
If you’re near Independence, Kansas during your travels, I recommend taking a few minutes to travel back in time at the Little House on the Prairie museum.
For more information about the Little House on the Prairie Museum, visit: http://www.littlehouseontheprairiemuseum.com.