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“Part of history worth knowing”

Sod House on the Prairie
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Sanborn
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Reviewed August 16, 2013

A good example to show our kids how people used to live and hopefully after this experience they will not take for granted the "luxury" they have compared to the Prairie people. It is however unfortunate that I am starting to see deterioration in this place, I think mainly because the gentleman who owns the place is at his prime. Hopefully somebody will take over to keep this place intact for more generation to see and appreciate.

2  Thank Mel L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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14 - 18 of 18 reviews

Reviewed June 27, 2013

It’s ridiculous more people don’t see this and write about it. Planned on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (another A+ adventure) and looked this up. Minimal reviews, and it seemed to have a little “cheesy” potential. None-the-less, we put it on the agenda.

What a gem. Driving between the Walnut Grove/Sleepy Eye area and our hotel in Tracy, there isn’t much. The area isn’t a look at the 1800's, but certainly isn’t so far removed from the 1950s. After traveling down miles of empty road and fresh sown fields, you come to the Sod house signs. We drove up and were greeted by an attentive and friendly dog, as promised. There were also cats! More on that a moment.

We saw life in the house, but it was obvious someone was doing barn work (Stan, we found out) and someone was cooking dinner (Virginia). Being of farm stock ourselves, we tried to have respect for the fact this is someone’s house. We walked back and were stunned at what we saw. The buildings are meticulous. Drawers are carefully loaded with implements that would have been there in the late 1800s. Signs explained everything from how the houses were built (with local prairie sod and wood from the turn of the last century, from a building that was being torn down), to a brief description of the project by Stan to return the prairie grass to its natural state.

The dresses and bonnets provided for the children was a nice touch, and made for good photo opportunities. A warm wind was blowing in the sunset, and I got eerie photos of the girls. But if one looks for a Little House On The Prairie photo-opp, they miss the point. Stan has put huge effort into realistically recreating what you might walk up to in the late 1800s if a prairie family was away from home and you stumbled on their property. Incredible stuff, meticulous detail, and an appreciation for a bygone era.

We were fortunate to have Virginia greet us as we were leaving. She’s a kind woman, full of info. We kept shooing our girls away from the McCone porch, where there were two baskets of newborn kittens. Virginia insisted we come up and see them, and talked at length to my wife and I about Stan’s vision, and how the area is changing. Dear Virginia: we came back Sunday morning, our own church service. The dog seemed grateful. The cats were sleeping. Thank you.

3  Thank 111buckhorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

We never knew what sod houses were really like till we stopped here. Made us realize how hard they really had it back then and how much we really take for granted. The display is really interesting and takes you back in time. We stopped here before heading to Walnut Grove which I recommend. The gentleman who owns the site is very kind and has really devoted his time to this wonderful display.

2  Thank Robin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2012

The structures are wonderful. Though Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't live in a sod house this is still a great experience.

1  Thank nikzig1773
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2011

This collection of different types of sod houses was built on a private farm, just west of Walnut Grove, as a hobby. The largest house is furnished in keeping with the time period and used to be open as a B & B, and there are several smaller houses as well, even a sod outhouse. A fascinating display!
This is not officially part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum sites but would be of interest to anyone heading to see the Ingalls' family dugout site on Plum Creek in Walnut Grove, as we were. As a stand-alone site, it also represents an important part of prairie history, since sod houses were common among prairie pioneers due to a lack of trees. Definitely worth seeing!
There is also a small picnic area adjacent.

2  Thank lifestartsat50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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