We left Lewis and Clark State Park and started driving south towards southern Missouri. The drive went without any problems, and we pulled into Mansfield, Missouri around 3:30. Mansfield was the home of Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder from the 1890s until both of their deaths. We visited here 5 years ago, but several of the younger kids didn’t remember that trip, so we decided to stop again. Annette really wanted to see Charles Ingalls’ fiddle. We had passed an RV park, the Laura Ingalls Wilder RV Park, just before arriving at the Wilder homestead, so we eventually pulled in there to camp for a couple days. The Ozarks won my heart when we drove through here 5 years ago, so I was excited to be able to spend a little time here exploring.
It had temporarily stopped raining when we pulled in to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum and home. We went through the museum seeing many of the belongings of the Wilder family, as well as many things that belonged to Rose Wilder Lane as an adult, and then toured their home. It was interesting to hear that Laura had been just 4’11” and Almanzo just 5’4”. They had built their kitchen cabinets to be short to work better for Laura’s height. Interestingly enough, they had originally lived in a small log cabin, and when they built a larger home, they had put the kitchen from their log cabin on skids and pulled it over to the location of their new home and attached the old kitchen to the new home. Over the years they added on to their home a little at a time to make quite a nice-sized home for themselves. Their daughter, Rose, eventually purchased a home kit from Sears and Roebuck catalog. This home would normally have cost just $2000 to build in the early 1920s, but Rose added so many upgrades that it cost her $11,000. She even ran electricity to the home from the nearby town of Mansfield. That added an additional cost of $3000, an enormous sum in those days. Laura and Almanzo lived there from 1928 until 1936, when they moved back to their farmhouse that they had built themselves.
After the Wilder homestead, we pulled into the RV park, set up camp, and the kids ran for the playground. The two kids who live at the RV park came running out to play when they saw other kids to play with, so everyone was thrilled to have some new playmates. We made dinner, the kids played, and I went and visited with the owners of the Laura Ingalls Wilder RV park. It was such a nice, quiet campground. The owner gave us some recommendations of inexpensive things to do in the area, so we planned to take advantage of some of those suggestions the next day. Ryon and I went out and just drove around for a little while as I love to be able to see an area and turn down various roads to just see what I can see. I also had to pull into a realty office and pick up one of their booklets as I enjoy looking to see how much it costs to buy property in an area. This part of Missouri is fairly inexpensive, maybe even less expensive than our part of the Carolinas. I went to bed dreaming of our explorations for the next day.