In­dus­try News

A mod­ern log-and-tim­ber home de­sign firm looks to the past to re-cre­ate one of Amer­ica’s most cher­ished home­steads.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

Re-cre­at­ing one of Amer­ica’s most cher­ished home­steads.

Ev­ery year, thou­sands of “Lau­raE heads” em­bark on a pil­grim­age to a spit of coun­try­side 13 miles south­west of In­de­pen­dence, Kansas, where a small mu­seum hon­ors one of Amer­ica’s most fa­mous au­thor’s homestead: Laura In­galls Wilder’s “Lit­tle House on the Prairie.” Now, through a part­ner­ship with Win­ter­woods Homes, the Lit­tle House on the Prairie Mu­seum is ren­o­vat­ing the orig­i­nal tor­nado-beaten, frost-bit­ten, one-room log cabin into a near-per­fect replica of the home that in­spired dozens of books, movies and TV shows.

Cho­sen for their work re- cre­at­ing the house­holds of Davy Crock­ett and Pres­i­dent An­drew Jack­son, Win­ter­woods Homes de­vel­oped a spe­cial ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the project, which owner Jef­fery Caudill ad­mits was, “too good not to get in­volved.”

ABOVE AND TOP: The key­stone to the Lit­tle House on the Prairie Mu­seum’s “grand vi­sion” is the re­place­ment of the In­galls’ fam­ily’s di­lap­i­dated log cabin. Once that’s done, the project team will con­struct a vis­i­tor’s cen­ter, fol­lowed by the con­struc­tion of Prairie Town, circa 1870 (but with state-ofthe-art au­dio/video and en­hanced in­ter­net with vir­tual ca­pa­bil­i­ties.)

Through the book’s orig­i­nal il­lus­tra­tions by Garth Williams and re­search of fron­tier-era ma­te­ri­als and meth­ods, Jef­fery and his de­sign team have de­vel­oped ren­der­ings based on the same con­struc­tion con­straints faced by Laura and her fam­ily. Mod­ern build­ing codes won’t per­mit an ex­act replica (the new plans must ac­count for wheel­chair ac­cess, bo­rate-treated logs, etc.) but Win­ter­woods Homes will use stone, earth and ap­prox­i­mately 70 trees from the prop­erty, it­self, to re-cre­ate the struc­ture as au­then­ti­cally as pos­si­ble.

Jean Schodorf, Pres­i­dent of the Lit­tle House on the Prairie Foun­da­tion, says that once they part­nered with Win­ter­woods Homes, it be­came clear the land had po­ten­tial be­yond a one-room log cabin and barn. The project has now evolved into a “grand vi­sion,” which will in­clude a mod­ern tech­no­log­i­cally-sup­ported vis­i­tor cen­ter and “Prairie Town,” in­tended to show­case fron­tier life in the 1870s. Their goal is to pro­vide a his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate re­source for teach­ers, stu­dents and youth or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica.

If you want to check out the home and mu­seum for your­self, you can make the trek to In­de­pen­dence, or you can sim­ply down­load the cabin schemat­ics and cre­ate your own Lit­tle House ex­pe­ri­ence.

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