Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary, and baby Carrie would be so proud.
Looks like the old Kansas site of the Ingalls beloved family home could use some sprucing up. The cabin’s exterior and interior have suffered damage over the the past four decades from a barrage of storms and strong winds pelting parts of the Great Plains—making the Midwest tourist attraction no longer the draw that it once was when 20,000 people visited each year.
But the two siblings who now own the land, Bill Kurtis and Jean Schodorf, are hoping to add a new barn and restore the historic landmark back to its former 1869 splendor—the exact same way viewers remembered the pastoral scenes from the popular television series, Little House on the Prairie, and, most importantly, the way author Laura Ingalls Wilder encapsulated life on the frontier and pioneering in its heyday in the classic children’s book series.
Due to the success of the TV show, the cabin was re-created in 1977 by the Kurtis family and built near Independence, Kansas, which extends into the southeast corner of the state’s most scenic region. And yes, the Ingalls family actually resided on those lands. According to The Wichita Eagle newspaper, it took Kurtis, Schodorf, and almost 150 volunteers three months to replicate the Ingalls home in 1977, before it became prey to aging and rain damage. Back in 1869, however, times were much simpler. In her writings, Wilder marveled that it only took three people, a horse, and a wagon to build the original cabin that would later become part of her storied memories.
“Now we are hoping to get craftsmen who are knowledgeable on building cabins,” Schodorf told the newspaper. “After that, we are hoping we will have volunteers who are knowledgeable of Kansas history and have strong backs to lift logs.”
To date, nearly $30,000 has been raised to remodel the old cabin, but the owners need at least $20,000 more to pay workers for their handyman skills. The cabin is slated for construction in October and November.
We get people coming here just to see the site because their child has read the book,” said Schodorf. “We want them to experience the prairie. It is an amazing story about Kansas history, and we want to continue the dream.
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To help them continue the dream, or to visit the Little House on the Prairie Museum when it opens, go to littlehouseontheprairiemuseum.com.