Library and historical society launch Laura Ingalls Wilder Commemorative Series
Ottawa, Kansas—125 years ago, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family traveled through Franklin County on their way to what would be their permanent home in Mansfield, Missouri. This fall, Ottawa Library and the Franklin County Historical Society are partnering to commemorate the event while exploring Wilder’s impact on Kansas and literature.
On August 16, the Wilders entered Franklin County. In her journal, which would later be published as On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, Wilder chronicles crops, land prices, buildings, and the people they meet along the way. Entering Ottawa at five in the afternoon, she mentions seeing the Santa Fe Hospital, the “imposing” courthouse, a “handsome college building” (now Tauy Jones Hall at Ottawa University), camping at Rock Creek, and heading south toward Lane, where they were assisted by a blacksmith at a large and handsome stone house.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Commemorative Series will feature book discussions, a storytime, and programs for adults and children. Download a printable list of programs here.
October 15, 2 p.m. at Ottawa Library: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (book discussion). Books will be available at the library beginning October 4. This program is presented by Sara Tucker, professor emerita at Washburn University, and is made possible thanks to the Humanities Kansas TALK program.
October 18, 10 a.m. at Ottawa Library: A Visit With Laura Ingalls Wilder. “Meet” Laura Ingalls Wilder and learn about her life through stories and artifacts. Presented by Laura McLemore, historian. This program is for adults and children of all ages.
October 19, 9:30 a.m. at Ottawa Library: Prairie Storytime. Learn about early farm families and prairie life through stories and artifacts you can touch and feel. This program is for adults and children of all ages.
October 19, 11 a.m. at Ottawa Library: Laura Ingalls Wilder in Kansas, a program presented by Jean Schodorf. Schodorf is a former Kansas Senator who, along with her brother Bill Curtis, co-owns the Little House on the Prairie Museum in Independence, Kansas.
October 29, 2 p.m. at Ottawa Library: Touching the Fire: Buffalo Dancers, the Sky Bundle, and Other Tales by Roger Welsch (book discussion). Books will be available at the library beginning October 4. This program is presented by Sara Tucker, professor emerita at Washburn University, and is made possible thanks to the Humanities Kansas TALK program.
November 14, 7 p.m. at the Old Depot Museum: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (book discussion). Books can be requested through Ottawa Library at any time. This discussion will be hosted by Diana Staresinic-Deane, executive director, Franklin County Historical Society.
For more information, contact Ottawa Library at (785) 242-3080 or the Franklin County Historical Society/Old Depot Museum at (785) 242-1250 or visit our facebook pages.