Burr Oak, Iowa


Nestled  in one of the most beautiful areas of northeast Iowa is the village of  Burr Oak. It was settled in 1851, laid out by Samuel Belding, and  platted in 1856. By the 1880 census, there were over 800 residents in  Burr Oak township and 200 living in the village. Beautiful groves of oak  trees surrounded the village, and Silver Creek wound its way through  the township. Two hundred, sometimes as many as three hundred, emigrant  wagons passed through Burr Oak each day. Today, Burr Oak remains an  unincorporated village of about 160 residents 


The  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.

The  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. Today, we greet over 6,000 visitors a  year, from all 50 states and many nations.

About Us


Our Mission


The  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.


Our Board of Directors and Staff

The  Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum is governed by a Board of  Directors, elected at each Annual Meeting of the Board. The Museum  employs a part-time director, a part-time curator, part-time summer tour  guides, and is also served by volunteers.

2018 – 2019 Board of Directors
Dawn Maroushek-Austin, President
Brittany List, Vice President and Secretary
Tammy Bjork, Treasurer
Nic Doughan

Lisa Bullerman

Andy Darrington

Barb Olson, Director

Bonnie Tieskoetter, Curator