Thursday, August 26, 2010
Burr Oak, Iowa is the third and last stop on our Laura Ingalls Wilder home tour this year. It is over a three hour drive from Saint Paul, MN and just across the Iowa border.
The Ingalls family lived and worked in this town for about 2 years. Their daughter, Grace, was born here in a little home about a block from the museum. There are no published Little House books written about this location. However, I heard that a unpublished manuscript is located in the Herbert Hoover Library in Iowa and could be published in a little over five years. In fact, you can go to the library and ask them to make you a copy. The Museum in Burr Oak has a copy you can view if you are interested.
Burr Oak was a main road for people driving their covered wagons west. About 200-300 wagons passed through Burr Oak a day in the 1870's. The Ingalls family boarded and helped run the Master's Hotel. All of 5 of them crowded and slept in one bedroom and Ma was pregnant with Grace. It cost about 25 cents a night to sleep in the hotel and most of the guests were men as there was a bar in the hotel. Also guests slept three to a bed. The cost included a meal as well. Ma, Pa and the girls were busy cooking, cleaning, and serving the guests. Basically is was a very hard time for the Ingalls family. They had recently lost their baby son, Ma was pregnant, exhausted, they were making little money, had little privacy and were working very hard. The only stayed at the hotel for a short time before renting a small house a block away were Grace was born. They then made the decision to move west.
Well, I hope I have inspired you to take your own literary trip. This year I still hope to attend the Laura Ingalls Wilder Festival in Pepin, WI on September 11 and 12th. I am planning to visit Walnut Grove, Minnesota and De Smet, South Dakota in the future (hopefully next summer 2011)