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August 9, 2013

Wilder schoolhouse dedication coming up

BURKE — Two actors from “Little House on the Prairie” will attend the dedication of an 1860s replica schoolhouse at the childhood home of “Farmer Boy” Almanzo Wilder.

Lucy Lee Flippin and Dean Butler played Wilder siblings Eliza Jane and Almanzo on the TV series.

Festivities are set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, with the dedication ceremony for the newest addition to the homestead at 1 p.m., hosted by author and Wilder biographer William Anderson.

The full-size schoolhouse will be dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Eliza Jane Wilder, who were both one-room-school teachers, and to all teachers. 

Also, a tree will be planted in recognition of all the children whose donations and school-tour admissions helped build the schoolhouse. 

SELF-GUIDED TOURS

Anderson will join Butler and Flippin to sign books, DVDs and photos following the ceremony.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 to 16. Ages 5 and younger are admitted free.

Now a producer of DVDs, Butler has visited the farm in the past to shoot footage for his works, which include “Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura” and “Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.”  

“We’re expecting to welcome a huge crowd,” said Carlton Stickney, president of the Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association. 

“We’ll have a lot going on, from fun activities for children to self-guided tours of the grounds, music and food.”

Almanzo Wilder, born in 1857, lived in Burke until 1875, when the family moved to Minnesota. He eventually met and married Laura Ingalls, whose book “Farmer Boy” is based on his childhood recollections.

The historic structure in Burke is the only original house on its original site of all those written about in the “Little House” book series.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Construction on the 30-by-25-foot school began about two years ago, Association Vice President Ken Carre said.

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