De Smet, South Dakota in the Present
De Smet, South Dakota, is a treasure trove for fans of the Little House on the Prairie books, as it is home to numerous historical sites and locations that played significant roles in the lives of the Ingalls and Wilder families. Today, the town’s strong historical society plays a crucial role in preserving and showcasing these important landmarks, ensuring that visitors can step back in time and experience the world that Laura Ingalls Wilder so vividly depicted in her stories.
One notable site in De Smet is the original Surveyor’s House, where the Ingalls family first lived upon arriving in the town. Another key landmark is the Ingalls family home built in town after Laura left. Both houses are open for guided tours, and visitors can explore the rooms filled with artifacts from the Ingalls and Wilder families, offering a glimpse into their daily lives.
In addition to the historic homes, there is a room dedicated to Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was an accomplished writer and journalist in her own right. This exhibit provides insight into the life and work of the next generation of the Wilder family, celebrating their ongoing legacy.
Nature enthusiasts can visit the picturesque Twin Lakes Thompson and Henry, as well as Spirit Lake, which were frequented by Laura and Almanzo during their courtship. These beautiful spots offer a serene setting for fans to immerse themselves in the natural landscape that inspired Laura’s writing.
History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Depot Museum, which showcases the town’s rich heritage and the role of the railroad in its development. Another important site for fans is the hilltop cemetery, where many members of Laura’s family, along with residents mentioned in the books, are laid to rest.
Lastly, visitors to De Smet should not miss the opportunity to stop by the original Loftus Store. The historic shop has been preserved, allowing guests to purchase small souvenir suspenders and bags of wheat, providing a tangible connection to the world of the Ingalls family.
In summary, present-day De Smet, South Dakota, offers a wealth of opportunities for fans of the Little House on the Prairie books to explore the town’s rich history and visit the sites that were important to the Ingalls and Wilder families. From the well-preserved homes to the beautiful natural surroundings, De Smet is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to experience the world that Laura Ingalls Wilder so lovingly brought to life in her beloved books.