Burr Oak Laura Days 2015 Festival Recap

Burr Oak Wagon

Burr Oak Wagon

One of the quieter Laura events, Burr Oak’s Laura Days is definitely worth the trip. Try to get there in the morning to see their parade. It tends to have all the normal small town “Days” events (minus the beer tent), but has a good share of Laura and historical activities available too.

Burr Oak, Iowa, is located about 10 minutes north of Decorah (which has several hotels and some nice restaurants to choose from) and about as close to the Minnesota border as you can get without going over. They are also located roughly 50 minutes from Spring Valley, Minnesota if you want to expand your trip. – SSU

Guest post by Julie Miller

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa, had their annual festival during the

Little Miss Laura and Young Almanzo Contest

Little Miss Laura and Young Almanzo Contest

weekend of Sat., June 27, 2015.  Many activities were held for both children and adults (see schedule below).  The museum had a record number of paid admissions on the Saturday of the festival (178 paid admissions for tours, not counting children, family members, and members who were free).  It seemed to be a bigger crowd than normal, of recent years.  The weather was really nice for Iowa (temperatures in the 70s and sunny).  The Medicine Show stage performance of music and comedy was new this year, and well-attended.  I estimate that 120 children enjoyed the activities in the back of the museum, which included wheat-grinding, making butter, making a quilt block, playing hoop and stick, carving soap, dying wool, making a corn-cob doll, walking on stilts, duck races down Silver Creek, playing checkers, playing with pioneer toys, listening to stories, etc.  The parade was also a highlight of the festival.

Grinding Wheat

Grinding Wheat

Stop by next year if you can make it!  The 2016 festival will be held on June 25 and 26.  It will be fun for the whole family!


Posted in Burr Oak, Little House Travel Tagged with: , ,

One More on the Way: Fast Food

Hart's Tea and Tarts Tea Room

Hart’s Tea and Tarts Tea Room

I had one more One More on the Way posts ready to go, so I decided to go ahead and share it. This will be the last of this year’s series, but I think I will work on more of them without waiting for 2017, so periodically search for And One More on the Way to find things to add on to your trip to LauraPalooza or any other Laura Ingalls Wilder trip.

If you’re not from the Midwest, you will probably find driving around to Laura sites a unique experience. Most of the locations are off the beaten path and while several are within easy reach of a four lane highway, others are a long piece down a two lane road from everywhere. Even if you have GPS, I strongly recommend that you take a paper map as well and even as small as they are a map of the town itself is a good idea to help you get your bearings.

On your way to any Laura town you’re most likely going to need to eat at small towns you pass through. While travelers out east are used to having rest areas with a food court, those will disappear soon after you get west of Chicago and from then on rest areas provide exactly what the name implies – a restroom and area to stretch your legs. Also, on Laura trips you have to leave the Interstates and all kinds of rest areas behind for two lane paved roads.

Although most small towns you pass through or turn off the Interstate to stop at will have a bar that serves food and/or neighborhood corner restaurant, many travelers prefer to stick to chains. The chains available normally depend on the size of the town. In fact you can gauge the size of the town by what restaurants they offer. I often point out if asked the size of a town, it’s only big enough for a Casey’s or it’s big enough for a McDonalds.

If the town you find yourself in is even too small for the restaurants listed below, most small town gas stations have a convenience store attached where you can dig up something to eat, look for names like Kum and Go, Kwik Star, and Casey’s General Store. Sometimes even a Subway or Dairy Queen and once in a very long while a McDonalds will be attached to the gas station so keep a sharp eye out.

Let me offer some hard won advice from driving to small towns all over to present, don’t assume there will be another restaurant up ahead, even if you’ve driven the road before and there was another one last time. Stop when you see a place if you need it. That’s important advice for bathroom breaks, buying gas, and finding food when driving out on the Midwest’s Blue Highways. Plus, don’t automatically pass by neighborhood style restaurants. They are a great way to talk to locals and get inside information about what’s around.

In many towns the first level of chain restaurant they are big enough to support is Subway. Subways offer deli type sandwiches and options to use the same toppings to make a pizza or a salad.  They also offer cookies (pricey for what they are unless you buy them in mass quantities – super expensive by buying 1 quite reasonable by buying 12, but generally good) and good iced tea (usually both sweet and unsweet).

Next up the chain is a Dairy Queen or DQ. The quality of these vary quite a bit, but if you can hit a good one, the food like hamburgers, hotdogs, tacos, salads, etc. is pretty cheap with generous portions. Making it a value meal or a basket is really worth it considering the amount of food you get. Ice cream is where they make their money with high prices. Sometimes it’s worth it for some really good ice cream, but it will cost you. DQs generally don’t have iced tea and have Pepsi products for drinks.

Next size of town is big enough to support a Hardees in the Midwest, known as Carl Jr.’s in some areas of the country with a very similar, but not exactly duplicate menu. Both use the same star logo. So don’t be surprised if you live in a Carl Jr.’s area and suddenly see their star on another chain. Hardees provide typical hamburger and french fry fare.  Another good spot for iced tea (ask if it’s brewed or through the fountain before ordering to make sure it’s the right kind – it varies) and home of a delicious if expensive milkshake. It’s a Laura trip, splurge, I’ll wait for your thank-you, honestly it’s worth the calories. Let me also add that it’s the only place that I’ll buy a chocolate milkshake not in a soda fountain because it’s the only one that’s chocolatey enough to suit me. On a recently discovered note, while many of their main burgers feature an artisan type bun, you can get a sesame seed bun instead on any of them for the asking which is great news for me because I can not say how much I hate their artisan buns.

After that you start seeing the larger chains, McDonalds, Taco Johns, Taco Bells, Pizza Hut, Burger King, etc. that I assume people are familiar with their offerings. Normally these are offered at nearby larger towns not the actual homesites, although a couple like Vinton, Iowa, and Independence, Kansas, are McDonalds size. Once you reach that level there are normally multiple other restaurants in town and you will have a lot of other choices.

One more note, Pepin, Wisconsin is an exception to this size rule. Located on the river in a beautiful countryside, Pepin is a get away town for people in the Twin Cities (for local people think how Galena is to Chicago) and so has an artist community and can support several excellent restaurants. Just another good reason to visit Pepin.

As long as you don’t ask them to be more than they are, there are lots of enjoyable little small town restaurants. That are mom and pop restaurants, tea rooms, and soda fountains, too. Keep an eye out. Ask for suggestions and don’t be afraid to take a risk.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Posted in LauraPalooza 2015, Little House Travel Tagged with: , , ,

It Takes All Kinds of People to Make a Conference

By all accounts, from both organizers and attendees, LauraPalooza 2015 was an unmitigated success. As with any large endeavor, it did not come together in a vacuum. The whole reason LauraPalooza unfolded as seamlessly as it did was its team of dedicated volunteers, many of whom worked steadily for well over a year to make these three days happen.

A long time ago, when all the grandfathers and grandmothers of today were little boys and little girls or very small babies, or perhaps not even born, Bill Anderson and John Miller, along with the board of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association, helped shape the vision and theme of LauraPalooza 2015: Through Laura’s Eyes.

Most (But Not All) of the Conference Team

Most (But Not All) of the Conference Team (click to expand)

And the twenty-fifth of August came, and Erin Blakemore publicized the call for proposals that went out, as is tradition, on Laura and Almanzo’s wedding anniversary. Conference co-chair Barb Boustead reviewed proposals with her team, organizing and solidifying the agenda over the next several months.

While it’s good to be neighborly, we can’t just let every potential homesteader sleep on our floor for nothing, so Matt Hume kept us all on budget from beginning to end, untangling tax laws and making sure we could set the lowest possible registration fees while still covering expenses.

Even blizzards that stopped the trains couldn’t keep Caroline Jones, Melanie Fishbane, Sarah Manley, and Sandra Hume from working on public and media relations as well as marketing to make sure all communication was on message and that our reach was as far as possible. Connie Neumann helped design the poster and postcards that Caroline Jones printed and sent with Gilbert and his mail to all of the homesites.

Our grandmothers would turn in their graves, but because these are modern times, Sandra Hume oversaw the building and maintenance of the conference website. The social media team swarmed Facebook and Twitter up to and especially during the conference. Sarah Manley and Erin Blakemore live-tweeted through every last presentation using the hashtag #laurapalooza15, Sarah via LIWLRA’s official feed (@liwlegacy) and Erin Blakemore from @heroinebook. Barb Boustead (@windbarb), Emily Woster (@EmilyWoster), Melanie Fishbane (@MelanieFishbane), Caroline Jones (@Caroline_E_J), and Sandra Hume (@sandrahume) live-tweeted as well. Out of more than 500 original tweets, the top tweet had over 3,055 impressions (the number of times users saw it) and many were heavily retweeted. (See all #laurapalooza15 tweets here. And if you do click, prepare to pull up a chair and stay a while, because there’s plenty more down cellar in a teacup.)

Our university liaison for logistical needs was Sarah Uthoff, who kept in touch with the university tirelessly to make sure we had everything we needed week after week for six months. Laura McLemore oversaw dorm lodging, matching roommates, coordinating with the university, and addressing any housing issues that came up during the conference. (Separate note: We do declare, we were all blindsided by the last-minute lack of wi-fi in the dorms, which was not what we were repeatedly promised, nor what we repeatedly confirmed. It was like the train superintendent giving up and going back east. Without telling anyone. On Christmas Eve.)

With a work ethic Eliza Jane the homesteader would envy, in addition to assisting Matt Hume with budget issues Karen Pearce spearheaded registration, building and maintaining the EventBrite site and addressing registrants’ questions up to and during the conference. Laurie Suiter sat with her at the registration table. All the way from Denmark, Sanne Jakobsen graciously arranged covered wagon sharing for those with transportation difficulties, and generous drivers were Karen Kimmi, Kathryn Steffen, Wendy Kump, Lorianne Hawkins, Amy Krentzman, Linda Burke, Lauri Goforth, and Eileen Anderson.

Barb Boustead arranged our fantastic keynote speakers and planned the Authors’ and Artists’ Reception.

Knowing the value of one golden hour set with sixty diamond minutes, Eddie Higgins, Sarah Uthoff, Karen Pearce, Judy Green, and Laura McLemore moderated sessions to make sure we were never more than 30 minutes behind. 😉

Kevin Pearce and Bill Suiter were always there to lend a hand for whatever was needed. Sky Hume also assisted whenever asked.

Although everyone had been working on their “Ambition” compositions for a while, at the last minute Connie Neumann, Linda Starbuck, and Laura McLemore developed and implemented a replacement Little House craft workshop when our poetry presenter, Holly Christiana, was unable to attend. Valerie Snyder and Sky Hume helped to facilitate the workshop on site.

It was a long walk to town, but worth it. Kitty Latane (rhymes with matinee) coordinated the vendors who sold their wares at the conference. Melanie Stringer selected and purchased LIWLRA merchandise and sold it on behalf of the organization, with on-site assistance from Lauri Goforth, Kelly Ferguson, Bill Suiter, and Sky Hume. Melanie was also responsible for attendees’ candy gift bags, including adorable personalized conversation hearts, which Jennie Harriman and Ilene Kinney helped her assemble.

It was a fundraising effort worthy of Pa’s bell when Judy Green and Lynn Urban helped Connie Neumann helm a Silent Auction of Little House-related items that brought in over $2000. She couldn’t have done it without additional on-site assistance from Teresa Lynn, Sue Poremba, Patty Collins, and John Urban.

Rebecca Brammer sent us a Christmas barrel from afar when she created the videos and ordered the plaques honoring the Laura’s Legacy Award winners. Sarah Uthoff presented Dr. Miller’s award at the Legacy Luncheon, and Bill Anderson presented Sally House with hers the week before the conference at the Wilder homesite in Malone, New York.

Sandra Hume gathered the parts and pieces for the LP 2015 program. Teresa Lynn designed it as well as the signage for the conference, and Linda Starbuck sold advertising for its pages. Carolyn Fleming designed the beautiful logo of Laura sitting down in silhouette, and Melanie Stringer worked in person with our printer in Brookings to make sure all was well.

Patty Collins’ watchful eye over every last detail of the conference food and drink made it run as efficiently as a New England Supper. She also led the bus tour to De Smet where LP visitors took part in activities and ate lunches arranged by Sharon Schaller. Everyone was enthralled with Nancy Cleaveland’s cemetery tours in De Smet.

Finally, just as Laura was eyes for Mary, Sandra Hume and co-chairs Sarah Uthoff and Barb Boustead were eyes for all of you, ever mindful of the conference’s big picture while still keeping track of the details.

Thank you to all.

(We hope we didn’t miss anyone, but if we did, give them a shout-out in the comments. It takes all kinds of people to make a conference.)


Posted in LauraPalooza 2015

LauraPalooza 2015 Evaluation

We hope you have enjoyed your time in Brookings! The conference committee wants to make sure your LauraPalooza experience is always the best it can be. Please fill out our evaluation and tell us how we did.


Dr. Beth Tarini talks about her research in determining the likely cause of Mary’s blindness.

Fill out the evaluation here.

Please make sure to fill it out only once. Thank you so much for your participation.

Posted in Administrivia, LauraPalooza 2015

Medical Issues at the Conference

Hopefully no one will need to know this information, but after an unfortunate allergic reaction at a conference I attended a couple of years ago I wanted to be sure that everyone knew the basic medical information.

The campus does not have a campus health care facility or campus nurse, but direct us instead to 2 nearby locations, an urgent care and a hospital emergency room. As always if it’s truly an emergency dial 9-1-1, but for less pressing medical issues here is the information.

Head south from the campus until you hit Highway 14 and then head east (left if you are coming from the campus). Both locations are on 22nd Ave which is a major road that intersects with 14 near the east side of town. You’ll turn south (right if you’re coming from the campus onto 22nd Ave.  22nd is south and east of the campus.

Urgent Care

The Urgent Care address:
401 22nd Ave S
Brookings SD
(605) 697-9500

Brookings has Avera Medical Group Clinic that is open Monday to Friday from 8AM-5PM, and Urgent Care (Walk-Ins Only) Monday through Thursday from 5PM-7:30PM and Saturday from 8:30AM-11AM.

Hospital With Emergency Room

The hospital address:
300 22nd Ave
Brookings SD
(605) 696-9000

It’s open 24/7.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Posted in Administrivia, Announcements, LauraPalooza 2015 Tagged with: , ,

Manchester, SD: Connected to Laura, Wiped off the Map

“Where is the claim?” Pa inquired.
“It is some little distance north of Manchester,” said Ma. Manchester was a new little town, west of De Smet.
–These Happy Golden Years
Manchester, South Dakota, was a neighbor to De Smet, established in 1881 just 9 miles west along the railroad.  Laura spent part of a summer there with the McKee family, but the connections between the Ingalls family and Manchester don’t end there.  Grace Ingalls Dow resided in Manchester after marrying, and after Ma passed away in 1924, Mary Ingalls lived there with her.  Famed painter Harvey Dunn also originated from Manchester.
Through the years, Manchester had declined from small town to nearly a ghost town,  In 2003, just six buildings remained occupied in the town, with a population around a dozen.  Like many towns in the Plains, time had passed Manchester by with the decline of the importance of railroad service, migration to urban areas, and abandonment of family farms.
On June 24, 2003, what was left of Manchester lay directly in the path of a destructive tornado.  The tornado, rated EF-4 on the Fujita scale of damage intensity, leveled every building that remained of Manchester.  The tornado is among the better documented, with numerous video clips and photographs from renowned tornado researcher Tim Samaras* and a host of other storm chasers.  Stock videos of tornadoes on The Weather Channel and other programs often use video of the destructive, yet photogenic, Manchester tornado.
If you drive west on Highway 14 those 9 miles from De Smet, you can find the site of the former town of Manchester and a granite monument marking its location, but the town itself now belongs to the ages.

Manchester EF-4 tornado as it was striking the town on June 24, 2003.

*Tim Samaras, his son, and one other crew member met a tragic fate on May 30, 2013, when they fell victim to a tornado near El Reno, Oklahoma, while conducting tornado research.  Read my thoughts about his death while chasing storms here.
Posted in Uncategorized

And One More on the Way: Kirk Dirt

Another post in the series of places to add on to your Laura Ingalls Wilder trip, whether you’re headed to LauraPalooza or just on your own.

If you know me you know I find a lot of different things interesting. I hope you do too, so even though it’s not Laura related I think you will enjoy the story of Kirk Dirt.

If you are a fan of Star Trek, you probably are aware that James Tiberius Kirk was born in Iowa. It happened like this. In the Star Trek history book, The Making of Star Trek, there is basically a throw away line saying that Kirk was born in Iowa. The series creator Gene Roddenberry didn’t have anything more detailed in mind than that. Back in 1984 Riverside Council Member Steve Miller read that line and decided if any Iowa town could be the birthplace of Captain Kirk it should be Riverside in hopes that it would draw tourists off the Highway of the Saints, US Highway 218. So Miller wrote Roddenberry and Roddenberry was so tickled with the idea he sent back a certificate naming Riverside as the spot, a fact that has been worked into post-1984 Star Trek including my favorite line from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in which Kirk quips, “No, I’m from Iowa, I just work in outer space.” More specifically during the 2009 Star Trek reboot the opening scene with Kirk speeding across the plain, the bar, and the Riverside Shipyards are all set on-screen in Riverside, Iowa – which by the way looks absolutely nothing like any of those sequences.

Riverside didn’t just sit on its laurels from officially being named the true future birth site, instead they reached out to Star Trek fandom as many different ways as they could think of. They set up a marker for the future birthplace, built a replica of the Enterprise and eventually got a statue of Kirk himself (it took awhile and still isn’t out of as permanent material as they’d hoped partially because they had to get William Shatner’s OK).

In addition they turned over their local days event (like most small towns they have a three day festival including things like lots of food, competitions, and most importantly a parade), they have had many cast members make appearances and they started a Star Trek museum called The Voyage Home Museum. To learn more about Trek Fest see this page and listen to my podcast with the organizers back in 2011. They also fund raise to keep it all going including indeed selling vials of dirt from the future birthplace known as Kirk Dirt (see the third row). (I still think this idea would also work for the Laura homesites.)

If you want to visit on a normal day, you can always see the USS Enterprise model in the town park and see the birthplace marker. But if you want to visit the museum check the times it is open at the link above and visit Trekfest during the last week in June. Anytime you visit consider stopping in on main street at Murphy’s Bar and Grill which has very good bar style food. Pretty much all the businesses in town are located along the main street you come in from the four-lane highway on including the birthsite, the museum, and Murphy’s, but it’s a long, twisty street so if you think you’ve gone too far you probably haven’t.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Posted in Little House Travel Tagged with: , , ,

Directions on the SDSU Campus

laurapalooza1This information has already come your way, but I wanted to remind everybody about where to find things on campus.

You will probably come into Brookings from either the east or the west on Highway 14 aka the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Highway. From either direction turn NORTH on to the campus grounds via Jackrabbit Avenue aka 16th Avenue from Highway 14. Note that the same street is labeled 16th Avenue on the campus maps and Jackrabbit Avenue on the city maps. I’ve used Jackrabbit Avenue in the description below (mainly because I like it better), but it may be labeled either way depending on what map or navigation device you’re using.  So 16th Avenue = Jackrabbit Avenue. Numbers given below are from the official campus map which matches the map we sent out.

As a reminder I’ve been assured by multiple people on campus that the only parking places they are ticketing this summer are those with individual signs, so don’t park in a police spot, a handicap spot, or one with a particular sign on an individual spot or a short range of spots and you should be fine.

  1. Larson Commons aka Cafeteria – This is where the meals from the meal plan or individual purchase are available. It is in the middle of the 3 part building which is the first one you pass on your left once you enter the campus. (#72 on the map) Some parking is available in front and lots of parking is available right across the street in the Southeast Parking lot.
  2. Caldwell Hall aka the dorms – (#77 on the map) Continuing along Jackrabbit Avenue past Larson Commons, Caldwell Hall will be the second building on your left. You can turn on Grove Lane to be directly in front of the building or watch for the entrances to the Southeast parking lot directly across Jackrabbit Avenue. The dorms are within easy walking distance of Larson Commons. Parking for both the dorms and the cafeteria is in the large lot across the street known as the Southeast parking lot.
  3. Student Union – (#50 on the map, number is circled) Continue north along Jackrabbit Ave then turn left (west) onto Student Center Lane. Best parking options will be on the east side of the Union. The lot with the parking barrier will be free during the conference so go ahead and park there or one of the adjoining lots. A second large lot is available on the west side of the building. Doors are available near both parking lots on both the east and west side of the union. It’s street address is 1023 Student Center Lane,  Brookings, SD  57007.
  4. The South Dakota State Art Museum – (#106 on the map) There is a ring road around the campus so coming from the dorms to the art museum you can go a couple of different ways. The best parking whichever way you go is behind the police station across the street from the museum, but there are several other lots slightly farther away if that one gets full.   You can park anywhere in the lots around the museum there except the places with signs reserving specific spots for the campus police, handicap, etc. From some of the parking lots you may have to walk one or two blocks to get to the museum. They give their address as Medary Avenue. at Harvey Dunn Street, Brookings, SD 57007.
    • From dorm the northern route -Travel north on 16th Avenue aka Jackrabbit Avenue then turn left (west) on to North Campus Drive then turn left (south) onto Medary Avenue. The museum will be on your left hand side very roughly about halfway between North Campus Drive and 8th Street. The best parking/police station will be on the right behind the campus police station.
    • From the dorm the southern route – Retrace your steps south on 16th Ave aka Jackrabbit Avenue, turn left (west) onto 8th Street, then turn right (north) on Medary Avenue. With this route the museum will be on your right and the police station will be on your left.
    • Finally, if the art museum is your first stop, turn north on to Medary Ave aka 471st Street from Highway 14 and drive straight for 4 blocks. This will put the museum on your right and the police station with parking behind it on your left.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Posted in Administrivia, Announcements, LauraPalooza 2015 Tagged with: , ,

Who is Harvey Dunn?

Harvey Dunn Street Sign on SDSU Campus

Harvey Dunn Street Sign on SDSU Campus

 This year the LauraPalooza conference welcome reception will be held at the South Dakota State Art Museum. The museum got its start when Manchester born, famous artist and illustrator, Harvey Dunn donated a large collection of his prairie paintings. His collection still takes a star place in the museum galleries. Dunn’s connections with the South Dakota prairie and with Laura Ingalls Wilder means a stop in Brookings at the art museum is always a good idea for any Laura trip. 

We’ve asked Sharon Schaller, President of the Harvey Dunn Society, if she would tell us a little bit more about Harvey Dunn.

The Harvey Dunn Society also sponsors a Pleine Aire (outdoor painting) event at the Ingalls Homestead every year. In 2015 it will be held August 7,8,9. For a more low key Laura Ingalls Wilder homesite event with an usual twist head over to De Smet in August. – Sarah S. Uthoff

Harvey Dunn, Teacher, Artist, Illustrator – “Son of the Prairies”

Harvey Dunn was born March 8, 1884, south of Bersha (fish) Dow. Tom and Bersha married in 1880 and came to homestead, 2 miles south of Manchester, South Dakota. Bersha had 3 sisters and 1 brother, Nathan Dow who also homesteaded there.

At age 4, Harvey’s family moved the house 2 miles south of its original site – remains of it are still to be seen. Harvey attended country school (also known as a one-room school) and continuously used up all the chalk to draw on the chalkboards. His former school has been renovated and can be visited next to the De Smet library.

Harvey was a formidable presence! His 6 foot 4 inch frame, large hands, and generous smile made him one remarkable man. At age 16 at the insistence of his mother, he went to Brookings State University (now called South Dakota State University). His teacher,  Ada Caldwell immediately knew she was observing a great talent. With her encouragement, he went to the Chicago Institute of Art in 1900.

In 1901, back in Manchester, Grace Ingalls (Laura Ingalls Wilder’s little sister) married Nathan (Nate) Dow, Harvey’s uncle. They lived on the Dow farm, later moving into Manchester. They had no children. Grace died in 1941. Nate died in 1943. Both are buried in the De Smet Cemetery near the Ingalls family plot.

Harvey went on to become a pupil of Howard Pyle, became one of eight commissioned artists to illustrate World War I and became a teacher and mentor to many. His studio in Willmington, New Jersey – Tenafly – produced many fine artists. He illustrated for the Saturday Evening Post, McCalls, Cosmopolitan, The Legion, and many others.

He never forgot his love of the prairies. He came to Manchester to stay with his sister Carrie at the Dow farm every summer for 16 years. He thrilled people with his stories, impromptu sketches, and his ability to warm people’s hearts.

In 1950 he sent one large group of paintings to De Smet to be an exhibit at the Masonic Temple. Thousands flocked to see them – many over and over again. Aubrey Sherwood, editor of the De Smet News, was instrumental in urging Harvey to do so, Aubrey and Harvey having been good friends for years.

The president of the Brookings South Dakota University, also viewed these paintings and with urging of him and several friends, Harvey donated 52 paintings to remain at Brookings permanently. They are viewed today at the Harvey Dunn Art Center in Brookings.

Harvey’s pallet of life was dwindling. He died on Oct. 29, 1952. His legacy lives in his paintings and his motto: “Jesus Christ was the only man who knew his job. He said, ‘Of myself, I am nothing.’ Nothing fine is produced without God’s help, and as soon as you have humiliated yourself, and conquered your will, you see the fit purveyor of the true and the beautiful.”

Posted in De Smet -- General, LauraPalooza 2015, Little House Travel Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

WiFi at the Conference

If you’re are coming to the LauraPalooza conference the South Dakota Student Union, where almost everything will be held, has a unique system for getting on their wireless system.

In the student union:

1. Select “SDSU Guest” wireless server from the list of connections that pops up as available on your device.
2. Open up your web browser and a splash screen should appear.
3. It will ask you to fill out some contact info (preferably an email) and agree to the terms of service for using the wireless.
4. Submit the request.
5. After submitting the request you will have access for 10 minutes to give you a chance to open up your email account to confirm and finish registering the temporary log-in account.
6. If you do not log in to your e-mail and confirm within those 10 minutes you get locked out and have to start over fresh.

In the dorms:

Wi-Fi access in the dorm will require you have an individual account that will be part of your dorm registration information.
NOTE: Access for the two locations are on two entirely separate systems and having an account on one will NOT give you access to the other according to the SDSU management.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.
Posted in Administrivia Tagged with: