BURKE – A full-size replica of an 1860s schoolhouse will be dedicated amid a flurry of festivities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 24 at the childhood home of Farmer Boy Almanzo Wilder.
Lucy Lee Flippin and Dean Butler, who portrayed Wilder siblings Eliza Jane and Almanzo on the TV series Little House on the Prairie, will be special guests at the event.
Now a producer of DVDs, Mr. Butler has come home to the farm in recent years to film. His works include Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura and Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Were expecting to welcome a huge crowd, said Carlton Stickney, president of the Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association, in a press release. Well have a lot going on, from fun activities for children to self-guided tours of the grounds, music and food.
Admission on Aug. 24 will be reduced to $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6 to 16. Theres no charge for ages 5 and under.
The ceremony to dedicate the newest addition to the Stacy Road homestead is set for 1 p.m., with author and Wilder biographer William Anderson as emcee. Mr. Anderson will join Mr. Butler and Ms. Flippin in signing books, DVD, photos, and other items.
Almanzo Wilder was born in 1857 and 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 schoolhouse will be dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Eliza Jane Wilder, who were teachers in one-room schoolhouses. Also, a tree will be planted in recognition of all the children whose donations and school tour admissions helped build the schoolhouse.
This historic Wilder house is the only original house on its original site of all the places written about in the Little House book series. About 3,000 visitors come from around the world each year to see Farmer Boys home.
The farmhouse, barns and outbuildings are surrounded by rural landscapes and the Trout River. Theres a gift shop and museum as well as a pavilion for events on the site.
Construction on the 30-by 25-foot school building began about two years ago, acccording to Ken Carre, the associations vice president. A local contractor constructed the shell and volunteers painted it and are working hard to finish the interior.
We would love more help, Mr. Carre said. Donations also are still needed for the project and future additions, such as a belfry, chimney, and landscaping. The plan is to make it look like it would have in Almanzos time. Our next step now is to build desks.
Wilder Homestead is just outside Malone in Burke. To get there from U.S. Route 11, turn onto County Route 23 and take the first right, Donohue Road, to the intersection at Stacy Road; turn right on Stacy Road. You can see the little red farmhouse about half a mile down on the left at 177 Stacy Road. Theres parking on the grounds.
For more information, a calendar of events and information on how to make a donation, volunteer or join the association, go online to www.almanzowilderfarm.com. People can also check Facebook, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-483-1207.