In 1876, at nine years old, Laura Ingalls and her family moved to the village of Burr Oak, Iowa. They lived for part of the year in Masters Hotel, helping the manager William Steadman, cook, clean and complete daily chores. The story of Laura's time in Burr Oak is unpublished, but falls between her stories, "On the Banks of Plum Creek" and "By the shores of Silver Lake."
Now a museum, the Master's Hotel is Laura's only childhood home still on its original site and offers a special step back in time. Learn about daily life in 1876, the birth of sister Grace, and the interesting people who boarded at the hotel while Laura and her family lived there. Try your hand at a slate and stylus, like the one Laura's sister Mary used; see the original 1876 school record minutes listing Laura's teacher William Reed. At this museum you have a special chance to read a copy of Laura's unpublished manuscript about her time in Burr Oak. Two books have been written based on this manuscript: "The Iowa Story" by William Anderson and "Old Town in the Green Groves" by Cynthia Rylant.
Laura's books have been translated into 40 languages and are still captivating audiences today. Thousands of visitors travel each year to Burr Oak to learn new detail about the Ingalls family. In 2010 alone, the museum hosted guests from all 50 states and 25 nations.. Across the street from the museum in what used to be the Burr Oak Savings Bank, is the visitors center - start here for your guided our and visit the gift shop. Burr Oak is located 12 miles north of Decorah just off of Highway 52 and is open daily April - October.
The annual Laura Days Celebration is the fourth weekend in June. Visit their website for event details.
May 1 – May 27:
Mon-Sat: 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday: Noon – 4 pm
Memorial Day – Labor Day
Mon-Sat: 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: Noon – 4 pm
September and October
Thurs-Sat: 10 am – 4 pm
Closing mid- October
Last tour of the day is one hour before closing.