Bookish Field Trip: Little House on the Prairie, Part 2: De Smet, SD

October 6, 2021

From Walnut Grove, MN (Part 1 of this post) we drove to De Smet, SD (population: 1,046 / K-12: 300 kids) is the town where the Ingalls were one of the first residents, and lived in for a long time, many of the Little House books document the
building of De Smet. We’re going to take a rest day today, touring the town and easing up on the driving.

De Smet seemed to be a small town struggling to balance several things at once:

– The the legacy of its most famous residents, The Ingalls, accurately and with dignity

– Accommodating tourists

– Keeping the character of a small mid-western town

– Growing an industrial base

This is the type of town where, for example, it’s not allowed to make a left turn into a parking spot on the main drag – and no one does.
They drive up the street, turn around, and park.

Yesterday was a long driving day, and even though we ate dinner, we all went to bed hungry, and got up hungry.

 

First order of the day was… to get breakfast.

This is notable because we almost never eat breakfast!

From the town’s brochure we picked up, we found that Wards Store & Bakery serves a full breakfast and lunch (as well as baked goods, and catering).

Breakfast is served 6-10.

Lunch starts at 11.

We promptly showed up at… 10:30.

Joke’s on them – their baked goods were fantastic, and the coffee was much better than the free one at our hotel, which we think is made using the used dishwasher water, and tastes as such.

We stayed for lunch which was also very good.

After lunch, we drove around De Smet a bit, visiting some sights related to the Ingalls’ first, and the family grave-site.

Everything is within ~2 square miles.

The Loftus Store is considered a featured stop on your Laura Ingalls Wilder Tour and is one of two original buildings on main street from the 1800’s”

The Loftus Store will be remembered as the store where Laura and Carrie bought a pair of blue suspenders for Pa, and Mr. Loftus was the storekeeper who tried to overcharge the hungry settlers of De Smet for sorely-needed wheat during the long and cold winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, – a short stop, but very interesting. We checked out the Original Surveyors’ House from Wilder’s fifth book, “By the Shores of Silver Lake”, the Original Ingalls Home built by Charles “Pa” Ingalls in 1887-1889, the Original First School of De Smet attended by Laura and her sister, Carrie, as well as an exhibition view original Ingalls-Wilder artifacts.

Bookish Field Trip: Little House on the Prairie, Part 2: De Smet, SD

First School of De Smet
1880 – 1881
Attended by Laura and Carrie Ingalls

 

“There was no time to say anything more, for the teacher came to the door with the handbell, and they all went in to school. They hung their coats and hoods on a row of nails in the entry, where the broom stood in a corner by the water pail on its bench. Then they went into the schoolroom.

According to Pa’s journal, the Ingalls family moved in on December 1, 1879. The family spent their first winter here, the house often serving as a hotel for the many homesteaders coming through the area. Laura wrote of the many experiences of that first winter in her book, By the Shores of Silver Lake.

According to Pa’s journal, the Ingalls family moved in on December 1, 1879. The family spent their first winter here, the house often serving as a hotel for the many homesteaders coming through the area. Laura wrote of the many experiences of that first winter in her book, By the Shores of Silver Lake.

Zohar – Man of la Book
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Bookish Field Trip: Little House on the Prairie, Part 2: De Smet, SD
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Bookish Field Trip: Little House on the Prairie, Part 2: De Smet, SD
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De Smet, SD (population: 1,046 / K-12: 300 kids) is the town where the Ingalls were one of the first residents, and lived in for a long time, many of the Little House books document the building of De Smet. We're going to take a rest day today, touring the town and easing up on the driving.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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