THE BETSY-TACY SOCIETY
Tour the Betsy-Tacy Society Houses!
Step back in time into the pages of a beloved book series . . .
More than a hundred years ago, a girl named Maud Hart grew up in Mankato, Minnesota, and her best friend, Bick Kenney, lived right across the street. Can you imagine what life was like for those girls so long ago? No cellphones, no computers, no TV . . . not even a bathroom inside the house!
Well, guess what – you don’t have to imagine it. You can visit Maud and Bick’s actual houses and see for yourself!
When Maud grew up, she became an author, and she wrote about her childhood in Mankato and all the adventures she and Bick used to have. Have you read the Betsy-Tacy books? If not, you are in for a treat! (And we recommend reading at least a few chapters before your visit – the Houses will mean that much more to you.)
“Betsy” is based on Maud; she’s a girl with brown pigtails who likes to tell stories. Her best friend – bashful redheaded Tacy – is based on Bick. The first book, Betsy-Tacy, begins in 1897, the day before Betsy’s fifth birthday, when Tacy’s family has just moved into the house across the street. Viewing the artifacts of Betsy and Tacy’s daily life and engaging in some of their activities will really give you a taste of what life was like more than a century ago!
If you already know these books, you’ll love seeing the real-life places where the girls played paper dolls, colored sand with Easter egg dye, and sat on the bench to eat their supper. You can check out the Big Hill where Betsy and Tacy climbed and played – how big does it look to you? You can even walk around the corner and see the chocolate-colored house where Betsy and Tacy’s other best friend lived – blonde curly-haired Tib!
If you haven’t read the books, you’ll still have fun examining the actual items that these families used for work and play back then. You’ll ask yourself: How did so many people fit in these little rooms? How did they cook on such an odd-looking stove? How many layers of clothes did they wear in the winter??
All visitors enjoy doing our Betsy-Tacy scavenger hunt. Challenge your friends to see who can be first to find every item!
During your stay in Deep Valley if you’d like to see more Betsy-Tacy sites (such as Betsy’s library, or Winona’s house), we’re happy to provide annotated maps. Come visit us!
The Betsy-Tacy Society (BTS) was established in 1990 by a small group of Mankato women who wanted to promote awareness of the (mostly out of print) Betsy-Tacy books and to preserve some local homes and landmarks Maud so lovingly depicted – and now boasts more than 700 members. The BTS bought “Tacy’s House” in 1995 and “Betsy’s House” in 2001. Both 1890s houses have been lovingly restored to their original turn-of-the-century charm and are open to the public for tours.
333 Center Street
332 Center Street
PO Box 94
Mankato, MN 56002