De Smet, South Dakota Information
De Smet, South Dakota, holds a special place in the Little House on the Prairie series, as it is the setting for the final five books: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years. Although Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family experienced both joy and hardship during their time in De Smet, it remained an important part of their lives. Laura and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, eventually moved to Rocky Ridge Farm, but Charles and Caroline Ingalls spent the rest of their lives in De Smet.
Laura and Almanzo also returned to De Smet for a visit in 1931, which is recounted in The Road Back.
Today, fans of the Little House series can explore a variety of sites in De Smet that celebrate the Ingalls family’s legacy. One notable attraction is the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes, which includes the original Ingalls home, the Surveyors’ House, and the house that Pa built. These preserved homes provide a glimpse into the family’s life during their time in De Smet.
In addition to the historic homes, visitors can explore the Ingalls Homestead, where they can participate in hands-on activities that showcase the pioneer lifestyle. From wagon rides and twisting hay sticks to making corn cob dolls and grinding wheat, these immersive experiences help fans connect with the world of the Ingalls family.
The De Smet Cemetery, where Charles, Caroline, and other Ingalls family members are buried, is another important site for fans to visit. Paying respects at the family’s final resting place offers a poignant moment of reflection on their enduring legacy.
De Smet also hosts various events and activities that celebrate the Ingalls family’s story. The annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, for example, is an outdoor drama that brings scenes from the books to life, highlighting the pioneering spirit of the family.
Visitors can further immerse themselves in the town’s history by exploring its charming streets, local shops, and restaurants, many of which have retained their historic character. These establishments provide a tangible connection to the world of the Ingalls family and the community they called home.
By visiting De Smet, South Dakota, fans of the Little House on the Prairie series can walk in the footsteps of the Ingalls family, gaining a deeper understanding of their experiences and the impact they had on the town. From the preserved homes to the immersive activities, De Smet offers a wealth of opportunities for fans to connect with the world that Laura Ingalls Wilder so vividly captured in her beloved books.