Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spring Valley, MN- Home of Almanzo Wilder

On August 9th, my kids and I drove to Spring Valley, MN.  It was about a two hour drive from Saint Paul (about 110 miles) and we wanted to visit the church that Almanzo, Laura and Rose once attended.  This little town was only mentioned once in the Little House books (in Little Town on the Praire).

The church was erected in 1876 and the Wilder family contributed a sum of about 50 dollars which today would be about 1000 dollars to the construction of the church.  It is quite beautiful with many stained glass windows.  You can take a tour of the church for a small fee.  There is also a museum in the basement of the church that details the history of the town of Spring Valley.  Did you know that Richard Sears (one of the guys who created Sears and Roebuck) is also from Spring Valley, MN and that he and Almanzo Wilder were friends. Well, I didn't until I took the tour.  There is also a small book shop in the church. 

The sign above is located in front of the church.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote a book called FARMER BOY about Almanzo's experience growing up in New York.  The Wilder family was quite wealthy compared to the Ingalls family.  Inside the church is a photo of the house the Wilder's built in Spring Valley.  It no longer stands, but it was quite large compared to the houses in which Laura and her family lived.

The Wilder barn still stands but is located on private property although people do drive by it, I chose not to.  I did include a picture of it below.  Almanzo's brother Royal is the only Wilder who stayed in Spring Valley until his death.  He owned a store in town, a short walk from the church which is now a bar.  He is buried in the Spring Valley cemetary.
It was a good trip on a very hot, hot Minnesota day.  The church is not air conditioned.  From here we drove to Burr Oak, Iowa to visit another of Laura's homes.

1 comment:

  1. Are you guys going down to Mansfield, MO? Or have you been there already? I would love to hear what Rocky Ridge Farm is like.