Pepin, Wisconsin, in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods

PHOTO CREDIT: Jodamiller. This photo is in the public domain.

“Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs. The great, dark trees of the Big Woods stood all around the house, and beyond them were other trees and beyond them were more trees. As far as a man could go to the north in a day, or a week, or a whole month, there was nothing but woods. There were

no houses.”1

According to Little House in the Big Woods, a small cabin in

Wisconsin served as one of the first homes for young Laura Ingalls Wilder who later in life gained recognition for her series of books, Little

House on the Prairie. Each book in the series is written from her point of view as a child to an adult. While she details her adventures and hardships as a young girl in the untamed American countryside, Laura also explores internal complexities of growing up and the beauty in both life and nature. The Ingalls family moved a number of times; however, the first book in the series, Little House in the Big Woods, takes place near contemporary Pepin, Wisconsin.

Known for its cold winters and cheeses, Wisconsin weather can be brutal even with modern methods of heating and cooling. Most of the late summer and fall was spent preparing for the impending snows and below-freezing temperatures. Laura worked with her father gathering wood, preserving meat, and making cheeses to make the most harsh winter months survivable. Much of the topography has changed and the original cabin no longer exists. The imagery of the original landscape, however, lives on in her description of the sturdy maple trees and the ‘beautiful lake’ nearby (Lake Pepin, the naturally occurring, widest portion of the Mississippi river). In honor of the beloved book and television series, both a museum and a replica of the cabin were erected near the house’s original location.

Read more about Little House on the Prairie on Wikipedia. Find Little House in the Big Woods at a local library or on Amazon.

1Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House in the Big Woods. New York: HarperCollins

Publishers. 1953.

Have an idea for a Daily Spot?  Send us an email.