Little House on the Prairie’ cabin in Kansas to be rebuilt

WICHITA, Kan. — The deteriorating log cabin at the “Little House on the Prairie” site in Kansas is expected to soon get a makeover.

The current cabin was re-created and built near Independence in 1977, during the peak of popularity for a television series based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books centred on her childhood. Wilder spent a year with her family at the Kansas site in 1869, the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2uzZLUf ) reported.

Siblings Bill Kurtis and Jean Schodorf, who own the cabin, said four decades of weather in Kansas has worn down the house. They want to rebuild it and add a barn.

“We will be using any of the materials that are salvageable for the new cabin,” Schodorf said last week. “But really, that may be just the windows, floor and maybe the fireplace chimney.”

Schodorf’s mother, Wilma Kurtis, inherited the land from her grandparents. She and her husband, retired Brig. Gen. William Kurtis, lived on the property and discovered in 1968 the farm was the site of the Ingalls homestead.

“We have been cleared for zoning and an environmental study that had to be done — all the modern regulations,” Schodorf said. “We’ve jumped through all the modern hoops and paid for an architectural study and signage and two sculptures.”

She said that more than 20,000 people visit the site each year. But with the current cabin drooping and logs weakening, its interior is barred from the public for safety reasons.

“We get people coming here just to see the site because their child has read the book,” Schodorf said. “We want them to experience the prairie.”

About $30,000 has been raised to rebuild the cabin, but the owners need nearly $20,000 more to help pay skilled craftsmen.

“Now we are hoping to get craftsmen who are knowledgeable on building cabins,” Schodorf said. “After that, we are hoping we will have volunteers who are knowledgeable of Kansas history and have strong backs to lift logs (to) … help us build the cabin walls.”

The cabin is scheduled for construction in October and November.

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