Missouri, Where We've Been

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Queen Esther, & The Titanic

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Laura Ingalls Wilder

The young Laura Ingalls Wilder was part of the last generation of Americans to experience frontier life as we read about in her books. Later in life, she saw children growing up in a more technologically fueled, urban surroundings, and was encouraged to write down her experiences of growing up on the prairie.

Some believe that her daughter Rose helped to write the books. Regardless of the authorship, they tell the story of Laura, her Ma and Pa, and sisters, Mary, Carrie, and Grace. 

The house we visited in Mansfield, Missouri, was the house where little Rose was raised and where Laura and Almanzo lived in their elder years when the books were written. 

The house began as a small cabin, not far from where the current house sits. In order to expand upon it, Almanzo took the wood from the small cabin and repurposed it down the hill and built the kitchen, dining room, and a loft that became their bedroom.

The stairs were incredibly narrow, but would suffice to get them and little Rose upstairs for the night.

As the years went by and Almanzo worked to provide for his family, he built on to the little house – first a room for Rose and a bathroom.

Followed by another large room and a living room. A set of stairs rises off these rooms to another large loft above. 

Almanzo also made many pieces of the furniture himself. The wooden chair below demonstrated his craftmanship in making the furniture. In fact, many of the pieces in the house were either made by Alamanzo or Laura – from the furniture to the pillows and rugs. They bought very few items to adorn their ever expanding house.

This was one of the centerpiece tables that Almanzo finished from a felled tree.

On another portion of the property, Rose had the Rock House built. The plans for it were actually ordered from Sears, but it was finished with rock siding to fit the Missouri countryside.

For a time, Laura and Almanzo lived in the Rock House while they rented out their farmhouse. It was here that the writing of the Little House books began.

After a while, they began to miss their farmhouse and its many years of history. They moved back into the farmhouse where they lived for the remainder of their years.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum, back up the hill, contains a small assortment of items like Pa’s fiddle, 

Mary and Laura’s writing tablets, 

Laura’s Bible,

and items from the show The Little House on the Prairie, among others.


Queen Esther

When we were in Pennsylvania, we visited the Sight and Sound Theater and saw the truly unique experience of Moses.

While in Branson, we were able to get tickets to another Sight and Sound production, Queen Esther. 

Both were masterpieces!

The stage almost completely surrounds you with elaborate set designs. The songs, dances, and story telling are epic!

They rotate through productions every few months to a year, so check back for updates on their website if you’re interested. The shows are not to miss!


The Titanic

There are two locations in the U.S. where the Titanic has been recreated and you’re invited on board to relive the events of the tragedy that occurred over 110 years ago. We saw the recreation while we were in Pigeon Forge, TN, but didn’t end up going. We did however, make it to the Titanic in Branson, MO.

The famous staircase and glass ceiling were recreated in their splendor, with the clock sitting on the center wall of the landing.

We were each given a person’s name and a short biography of a traveler on board the fateful voyage. 

Stories of passengers were retold, including the Isodor and Ira Straus. Ida refused to leave Isodor and refused to get into the lifeboat without him. Isodor refused to enter the lifeboat ahead of women and children. Isa is reported to have said, “As we have lived, so we will die, together.”

Further on, there is a room dedicated to the musicians who played hymns until the last moment before the ship sank into the cold, dark, ocean. All of the musicians perished that night, but their legacy lives on in the last meaningful tribute they could give the passengers facing certain death on the sinking ship.

Visitors were offered a chance to play the piano surrounded by the musician’s portraits. Jaden played a number he had been practicing and was presented with a post card of the Titanic for his efforts.

The Titanic Museum was a well done tribute to those who sailed on that fateful voyage in 1912.




Table Rock State Park

Table Rock State Park was full when we visited in March. Our site was located near the end of the cul de sac and fairly easy to back up into. The site was long enough for both our trailer and truck. The camp host came by and checked us in upon arrival.

It was relatively quiet without much road noise. The utilities all worked fine. No issues and we had full hookups in our site.

There’s a playground nearby for smaller kids. There’s also a bathhouse not too far away. Branson was about a 15 minute drive through mountainous terrain.

Starlink gave us 45 down and 9 up. We had 2 bars on the Verizon phones (0.6/0.1) and 3 bars with the cell antenna (60/3). AT&T was 5 bars with the cell antenna (26/9).