Laura’s Home on Rocky Ridge Farm
The Historic Farmhouse
As visitors make their trek to the historic Rocky Ridge Farm, the first sight they’ll see is Laura’s and Almanzo’s beloved farmhouse. It remains as it was in 1957 and stands as an official project of the Save America’s Treasures National Trust for Historical Preservation.
Laura, Almanzo and daughter, Rose, arrived in Mansfield from South Dakota, August 30, 1894. They purchased a forty-acre farm, which had a one-room log cabin near the spring and ravine. After living in the log cabin through the first winter they built a room onto the side of it in the spring of 1895. The next spring (1896) they moved the new room to the present historic house location, where it is now the kitchen. A second room, with an attic space above it, was added to create a two-room house with an attic bedroom for Rose.
It took 17 years from the time they moved the room to when the home was finished in 1913. They lived in a small house in the town of Mansfield from about 1898- 1911.
The home was always a central theme to Laura’s life. The farmhouse held a very special place in both Laura’s and Almanzo’s hearts as they chose to live the last of their days here. It is only fitting that the Little House books were written by hand on tablets of paper at both homes on Rocky Ridge Farm. Visitors can tour the home and see her study and writing desk, as well as the many treasures that remain exactly how Laura left them.
Conserving Mrs. Wilder’s Furniture
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association has been working with Fallon & Wilkinson LLC, out of Baltic, CT to conserve pieces of Mrs. Wilder’s furniture.
The effort began in the Parlor of the historic Farm House with Laura’s rose colored armchair. The treatment focused on preserving as much of the current upholstery as possible. The springs underneath were retied and new webbing was applied over the current torn webbing. The armchair was completed and placed back on display in the Summer of 2019.
During the Fall of 2019, two more pieces were sent off, the blue “velvet” couch and armchair. Both pieces are currently out for repair.
About the Conservators
Fallon & Wilkinson, LLC brings a combined 53 years of training and experience to the care, conservation, and restoration of furniture, decorative arts, and interior woodwork, blending old world craftsmanship with modern conservation practices.
Sponsor a Project
Projects like these are possible due to our generous donors. If you would like to sponsor a piece of furniture and help preserve Mrs. Wilder’s legacy, please contact us at (417) 924-3626.
Restoration of the Wilder Family Walking Trail
Completed in 2018
Part of the serene charm of Rocky Ridge Farm is taking time to relax and enjoy its beautiful natural setting. The Wilder Family Walking Trail has always been a way for visitors to immerse themselves in this experience. One can only imagine the conversations that took place between Laura, Almanzo and Rose or feel they’re walking the pages of history. The trail was originally used by the Wilders as passage between the Farmhouse and the Rock House – Laura and Almanzo’s second home.
The Rock House
Completed in 1994
Rose Wilder Lane, the Wilders’ only daughter, was a successful author in her own right. She went on to pursue her career outside of the small town of Mansfield, but eventually returned to her roots on Rocky Ridge Farm. Upon her return in 1928, Rose had a house built with modern conveniences as a gift to her parents. Laura and Almanzo moved in at Christmas time that very same year. It became known as the Rock House because of its custom rock masonry siding. Following some encouragement from Rose, Laura began writing down childhood memories that would forever capture her amazing history and the pioneering life she had lived.
It was in the Rock House that Laura, at 65 years young, wrote the first four Little House books. Visitors can tour the beautifully-restored Rock House on Rocky Ridge Farm and learn of its unique building secrets. Laura and Almanzo lived in this home until 1936, when they finally returned to their beloved farmhouse.