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Walnut Grove, Minnesota's Little House Legacy

In my most recent blog posts, I shared about my visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum as well as the site where the real Ingalls family lived in the book On the Banks of Plum Creek. (Links to my blog posts.) The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota invited me to meet museum visitors during their Family Festival, held on Saturdays in July (the same weekends as the Wilder Pageant). I had so much fun!

On the Steps of Masters Store

I was honored to give my presentations from the steps and lawn of the Masters Store and Hall. I shared a bit about researching and writing The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion. We also had some Pictionary-style trivia. (We were outdoors without a projector, so it was a casual time together.) There were some people in the audience who knew the answer to every question!
Can you see the image I'm holding? The participants noticed the well and a candle. Then they told me which Little House scene/book the pictures were from.

The Masters Store and Hall, Walnut Grove, Minnesota

The real Charles Ingalls, affectionately known as "Pa" in the Little House books, helped build the Masters Store and Hall. The real Laura lived upstairs in this building for a short time. It is located directly across the road from the museum and a mile or so from the dugout site.

An Active Citizen

The real Charles Ingalls was Justice of the Peace in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

Not Forgotten

We know the Ingalls family moved a lot. Walnut Grove, Minnesota would been remembered for more than the dugout and grasshopper swarm because Laura's brother, Charles Frederick Ingalls, was born in Walnut Grove. They called him Freddy. Sadly, Freddy died on August 27, 1876 when the family was on their way to Burr Oak, Iowa. He was nine months old.

A Railroad Town

During my research for The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion, I was a bit surprised to learn Walnut Grove was a railroad town. The rails are right beside the museum and the Masters Store and Hall.

Edited: I needed to remove the railroad tracks image. I had no idea taking a photo on the rails is illegal. Did you? 

The Television Show

Little House on the Prairie television show brought so many new fans to the Little House books. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum displays a significant amount of memorabilia from the show as well as information about the stars of LHOP. In 2024, the museum is hosting the 50th Anniversary Celebration and Cast Reunion in July. 

Pa's Bell

Fans of the Little House books remember how Pa gave $3 (boot money) to their church so it could have a proper bell. Today, a private home sits where their church--The Union Congregational Church--used to be. As I shared in my book, the bell now rings every Sunday morning in the local English Lutheran Church's bell tower. 

Here you see Pa's bell that church in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Actually, you can't see it very well because of the belfry's design. But it is Pa's bell. 
I appreciate the museum's enthusiasm about my book The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide and their invitation to be part of their Family Festival and see all the local sites.

The museum carries signed copies of my books (along with many other Little House-related books). Please call the museum store to place an order as they rebuild the online store. (They have replicas of Laura's engagement ring, too!) 

If you're a fan of the Little House books, I hope you'll visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum or support them through purchasing through their store. They really have a large selection of Little House merchandise.

More Walnut Grove?

Want to know more about Walnut Grove, Minnesota and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum? I shared in these blog posts.

Annette Whipple writes nonfiction books for children, including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide which includes history, discussion, photographs, and 75 activities so readers can "live like Laura." Learn more about her books and presentations at

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