Walnut Grove, Minn.-In a recent follow-up to the town celebration that occurred upon Mary Ingalls’s return to Walnut Grove from the mathematics competition in Minneapolis, Lars Hanson clarified that he was not merely speaking figuratively when he thanked Mary Ingalls for putting Walnut Grove on the map.
“It was not a figure of speech, as they say. Before Mary came in second place at the math competition, Walnut Grove barely appeared on maps anywhere,” Lars asserted. While not completely unheard of, it seems that only the most erudite cartographers actually owned maps that showed Walnut Grove. “It was not something that you would find on mainstream maps,” Lars continues, “but now all that has changed.”
As Lars carefully points out, many in the town mistakenly believed that the statement was meant only as an expression to show how proud the town was of Mary. He attributes this mistaken perception to the fact that many people in the town hardly ever have to use maps. “Everyone in town has a pretty set routine, yeah?” Lars commented. “You walk three miles this way for church and school, two miles that way to your neighbors house, and so on. Usually when travel is involved, it’s to the same places—Sleepy Eye, Mankato. People miss that Walnut Grove isn’t even on maps used for those trips because they live there, they know where it is, yeah?”
Lars also observed that people are now taking trains for far away trips, which eliminates the need for maps altogether on the part of the traveler. Due to the rarity of Walnut Grove appearing on maps in use by anyone who the town’s citizens encounter on their travels, often outsiders are surprised to hear that such a town exists. “But now,” Lars exclaimed as he clasped his hands excitedly, “we are on the map and now we are really going to go places as a town!”
Now that Walnut Grove appears on standard maps, Lars looks forward to the possibilities of subsequent editions and expressed a hope that Hanson Lumber Co. might be marked on a future map, noting that it would be great for business.