Little Town on the Prairie

DeSmet SD Laura Ingalls Town
A few years ago, we were taking my son to college in New York which is a long drive from Nevada, so we decided to make a sight-seeing tour out of it. I called it “The Deliverance Tour”, since we were delivering him to college. One of our stops was in De Smet, South Dakota, also known as The Little Town on the Prairie.  I was a big Laura Ingalls fan as a kid. I read all the books and used to daydream about living in a log cabin. I even named my first daughter Laura Elizabeth. So when the chance came to see the Ingalls homestead, I excitedly took it!

 

The house in town that Pa built.

The house in town that Pa built.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society has a building you can stop in first and get a map with a guide of all the places in town that are relevant to the Ingalls family, including the cemetery where Ma and Pa and family are buried. Laura’s baby boy is buried there too. They have a tour, but we didn’t have time to take it so we drove ourselves around.

Mary Ingalls grave.

Mary Ingalls grave.

The Ingalls’ Homestead is a mile outside of town and is a fun place to visit for an entry fee of $10.00. This is where four of the Little House books take place. You can see a sod house like they lived in before the house was built.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

You can go in the house and see the kitchen and living room, feel how hard the straw mattresses were, spin some yarn and wash some clothes out back. Fun!

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

The living room where the Ingalls family gathered to sew and spin. In the corner is a shelf that held all Ma’s pretty knick knacks.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

My son pumped some water from the well, it wasn’t easy! In the background you can see some trees that Pa planted way back in the 1880’s. They told us he planted a lot of them but only a couple have survived this long.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

The barn has real animals in it and quite a few cats.

Not far from the house is the school that Pa built and Laura was the first teacher to teach there. The actual schoolhouse burned down a few years after it was built and the one that is still standing was built later.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

There are a bonnets for kids to try on and a rope to pull to make the bell ring.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

These rules were posted on the door to remind teachers of how to conduct themselves.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

I’m glad I don’t have to follow those rules!