The Almanzo Wilder Farm gets ready for 2021 season

Submitted Photo byPictured Photo: Staff person, Maeve Maguire, works with Kamden Spicer, who is manning the cameras, to produce a video telling visitors about the second floor of the Wilder home. Because of social distancing protocols in 2020, site tours were not able to include the second floor bedrooms, where Mrs. Wilder’s loom was also kept. The short video was then available for viewing in the house during tours.

After an abbreviated 2020 tour season due to the Coronovirus, the Almanzo Wilder Homestead in Burke is looking ahead to a more normal season this year. The local historical site will open to visitors on May 29 and the Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association is busy making preparations.

Like last year, the season will begin with tours for small groups traveling together by advance appointment only. Reservations can be made in advance at almanzowilderfarm.com/tours. The season will begin by opening Thursday through Monday, closed Tuesday and Wednesday. More days may be added later in the season. The Visitor Center, with museum and gift shop will be open to the public with no reservations necessary.

The Wilder Farm will host a work bee on May 15 and welcomes anyone who’d like to help out. Early season tasks include Heritage Garden preparation, brush removal, fence repair, schoolhouse staining, and several small plumbing and carpentry projects. Volunteers, with and without experience, are welcome to help ready the site for visitors. If interested in participating, please email farm@almanzowilderfarm in advance if possible. Bring a bag lunch if you’d like - the association will provide plenty of snacks and drinks.

The Almanzo Wilder Homestead is the original boyhood home of Almanzo, subject of the book, Farmer Boy, written by his wife, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Farmer Boy is the second book in the Little House series, and the only one about the Almanzo’s childhood. These popular stories of mid 19th century pioneer life were the basis for the popular television series, Little House on the Prairie. The Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association, under the direction of Dorothy Smith, a distant relative of Almanzo’s, was formed in 1986 for the purpose of acquiring the original Wilder family property, restoring it, and developing the historical and educational site it is today.

Every year, visitors from all over the world come to the Wilder Homestead. The ongoing maintenance and preservation of this beloved site is a challenging undertaking, especially during these two years of reduced traffic during a worldwide pandemic. Those interested in helping to preserve this site of local history are needed and welcome to help with planning, educational programs, special events, building and grounds maintenance, gardening, and tour guiding. Those interested in becoming involved can reach out for more information or stop in when the site is open. Email farm@almanzowilderfarm.com or call 518-483-1207.

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