by Deanna Bateson
October 16, 2004
Rock Ridge is nestled in the Ozarks of Missouri, and while walking around the farm, memories of her books will flash through your mind. You can understand why Laura came to love this home, where she remained until her death in 1957. The farmhouse she and her husband Almanzo shared reflected their common-sense, down-to-earth pioneer backgrounds.
Visitors to Rock Ridge Farm can glimpse displays of memorabilia that include handwritten manuscripts for "Little House" books and keepsakes that will jog memories of Laura and her family’s pioneer life. A place of honor is given to Pa’s fiddle in the museum and is played once a year on the third Saturday in September to celebrate Manfield’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Festival. After spending time mulling over memories in the museum, a docent conducts a tour of the farmhouse. You enter the kitchen and see where Laura spent many hours baking and preparing meals for her family. Her favorite dishes, a set of Blue Willow Ware, sparkle in the cupboard, and her table is set welcoming those who come to visit. A visitor can feel the pleasant "ghosts" of Laura, Almanzo, and their daughter Rose, and almost imagine them sitting by the fireplace reading or writing a letter to the family back in De Smet.
Also visit the Rock House, which is located on the farm; this was a gift from Rose to Laura and Almanzo in 1928. Rose furnished the house with the most modern furniture and appliances, but Laura and Almanzo lived there only until 1936. Laura and Almanzo, in their 60’s and 70’s, missed the farmhouse and moved back, concluding their lives in warm and familiar surroundings.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder–Rose Wilder Land Historic Home and Museum is located one mile east of the town square in Mansfield on Highway A. It is well marked and is open from March 1 to November 15. Admission is $8.00 for adults, $6.50 for seniors (65 +), students (6 – 18) $4.00 and children under 6 are free. Be prepared for a flood of childhood memories.
From journal Laura Ingalls Wilder Memory Trip