first hotel in Burr Oak was built by Samuel Belding in 1851. The building was
made of logs and was about 16x20 feet, with a loft that was reached by a
ladder. It was known as the Burr Oak House. After selling the hotel to John
Waggoner, it was renamed as the Waggoner House. An
addition was added to the hotel in 1857 and was renamed as the Burr Oak House
again. It became the Masters Hotel in 1873, when William Masters purchased the
hotel. He sold it to William Steadman, from Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in 1876.
Charles Ingalls and his family moved into the hotel, still known as the Masters
Hotel, with the Steadman family in 1876.
hotel changed ownership and names several times over the years. In the early
1900s, it became a private residence until it was unoccupied in the 1950s. In
1973, it was purchased by four individuals with the dream of restoring the
hotel and opening it as a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. After
three years of work by volunteers, and with money earned through grants,
fundraisers and donations, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum opened in
June of 1976.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit
museum. Its mission is to present Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life in Burr Oak and
her family’s experiences by connecting visitors with the pioneer experience.
The Masters Hotel, where the Ingalls
lived and worked in 1876, was built in 1851. Our museum board, staff and
volunteers are dedicated to preserving this historic site for future
generations. It is the only childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder that remains
on its original site. We are grateful to our visitors and donors who make it
possible to continue the museum’s mission and educational programs through
tours, gift shop sales, donations, and memberships.