Monday, June 11, 2012

Little House on the Prairie: A Tour of the Ingalls Cabin

Before noon, Pa said, "Whoa!"  The wagon stopped.  
"Here we are, Caroline!"  he said.  
"Right here we'll build our house."  
Laura and Mary scrambled over the feedbox and dropped to the ground in a hurry.  
All around them there was nothing but grassy prairie 
spreading to the edge of the sky.  
 ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

I think one of the many reasons Miriam and I adore the Little House books is because many of our ancestors were pioneers who came out west in covered wagons or handcarts.  We were told the story of how our great-great-great grandparents made dugouts in riverbanks because they didn't have time to build cabins before winter set in.  It all seemed so romantic---like rustic beach-front living---until we actually saw what one of these dugouts looked like.  Behold . . .

The dugout we visited was dark and damp and cold and small with mud floors and oil-cloth windows.  To think of a large family stuffed into a space the size of a bathroom for an entire winter was an eye-opening experience.  It made me appreciate having a dishwasher to load and carpets to vacuum and a freezer to defrost.

As we celebrate the Ingalls family this month and their pioneering spirit, I thought it would be interesting to take a tour of their house on the prairie.  The Ingalls home site in Kansas is now a museum.  A replica of their cabin stands on the site.  All of the following images come from the Little House on the Prairie Museum webpage.

The Little House on the Prairie nestles itself against a small grove of trees 
for shade and protection from the Kansas wind.
 Ma's carpet bag and washboard sit in the corner of the little cabin.

  A small lap desk and oil lamp await letter-writing.

 A log bed lies next to the hearth for warmth.

A steaming bowl of stew and cup of water are served for supper.

 Laura and Mary's one-room schoolhouse sits quietly 
after the children have all gone home for the day.

A grassy field invites little girls with bonnets and aprons to frolic in its meadow.

God bless every one of the pioneers who were content with little houses, whether they be in river banks or on prairies.  I wouldn't trade places with them for the world, but my world wouldn't be the same without them . . .


  1. "God bless every one of the pioneers who were content with little houses, whether they be in river banks or on prairies. I wouldn't trade places with them for the world, but my world wouldn't be the same without them . . ."

    So very true! Thanks for all that you share!!

  2. I have to show this post to my daughter. We're up to 'Farmer Boy' in the series, and she loves anything Laura related. I thought it all seemed romantic when I read them as a girl, but now it does seem like a tough way for a family to live.

  3. Such a lovely post! I would so love to visit all their homes. Thanks for sharing these photos. Have a wonderful day. ~ Jamie

  4. Yes, I was amazed to see how small their verious homes actually were! THEY were small people for the most part but still!

  5. Hello Erika,
    Oh my, I enjoyed your post so much! I am a big fan of The Little House books and watched re-runs for years. Being an Islander in Anne of Green Gables country, I really enjoy those old stories and makes me appreciate even more the modern day appliances we enjoy today. But there was something so charming about life in the yesteryear. Thanks for sharing. Loved the photos!


  6. Thank you so much for this post. I read all of the books to my daughter. We'd love to visit the museum someday. I, too, appreciate a washer & dryer, toilets, showers, refrigerator, etc!! How much easier life is today! Catherine


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