Mansfield, Missouri

Take a video tour of Rocky Ridge Farm!


In 1894, Almanzo, Laura, and Rose Wilder left their home in De Smet, South Dakota, for good, hoping to find a better life in the Ozarks of Missouri. They bought a piece of property, which Laura named Rocky Ridge, in 1894. They first lived in the tiny one room log cabin on the property, and then added a room on. They planted an apple orchard and began to clear the stony land for farming.

In 1897, the Wilders purchased a house in town and lived there for the next few years. Laura took in boarders and served meals while Almanzo went to the farm each day to work. In this way, they were able to bring in money until the farm could become productive.

The Wilders eventually moved the built-on room a short distance away, and began building the beautiful farmhouse that still stands today. It grew room by room until its completion in 1913.

Meanwhile, their daughter Rose, had left Mansfield, not being satisfied with small town life. She married Claire Gillette Lane in 1909, had an infant son who died in the summer of 1910, and divorced Gillette in 1919. In later years, she returned to Rocky Ridge. She and her friend Helen Boylston moved into the farmhouse, and in 1928, Rose had a rock house with modern conveniences built for her parents. After Rose moved out in 1936, however, Almanzo and Laura returned to the farmhouse, saying they were homesick. They remained at the farmhouse until their deaths.

Rocky Ridge Farmhouse

The Rock House
Laura wrote her books at her two Rocky Ridge homes in the 1930s and 1940s. Even though the royalties from the books must have made the Wilders very wealthy, they did not change their way of life. Almanzo continued to farm until his death on October 23, 1949. Laura remained on the farm alone, with regular visits from Rose, and help from friends and neighbors, until her death on February 10, 1957.


After Laura's death, Mansfield residents L.D. and Irene Lichty began a nonprofit organization in commemoration of Laura and her books. They later persuaded Rose to repurchase the home and grounds which had been left in Laura's will to the library, and were active in its preservation. Today, the house stands as Laura left it. A museum next to the home contains many of Laura's personal belongings and a number of items mentioned in her books, such as Pa's fiddle, Ma's sewing machine, Mary's nine-patch quilt, autograph albums, name cards, and much more. One section of the museum is devoted to Rose Wilder Lane and her literary career.

The modern rock house that Rose had built for her parents was restored in the 1990s and is now also available for tours. A walking path leads visitors between the two houses.

Other Mansfield points of interest include the Laura Ingalls Wilder Library, the Mansfield Historical Society and Museum, and the Mansfield cemetery, where Laura, Almanzo, and Rose are buried.

"Little House Memories" is an outdoor pageant which recreates scenes from Laura's books, held on weekends during late summer and early fall. Wilder Days is held each September, and features arts and crafts, music, and a parade.

Laura Ingalls Wilder - Rose Wilder Lane Home and Museum
Mansfield, Missouri 65704

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl

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Rebecca Brammer & Phil Greetham
Do not use without permission.