Sunday, May 1, 2011

De Smet, South Dakota, Laura Ingalls Wilder - Memorial Homes and Town

Our little prairie girl tried on this dress first, but it fitted too perfectly, so we decided on the next size up.  Isn't she beautiful?

We took a guided tour of the Surveyor's house where Ma and Pa, Mary, Laura, Carrie and baby Grace stayed their first winter in De Smet.  Laura thought it was a palace, soooo big and spacious - it was tiny!  We were asked to not take photos inside, so have some postcards to bring home.  But we forgot to photograph the outside of the buildings to show you!
Next we went into a replica of the Brewster school where Laura taught that awful winter and then the actual schoolhouse that Laura and Carrie attended along with Nellie Olsen and where Eliza Jane Wilder taught!  WOW!
This is the house that was NOT little - the house Pa built for Ma in town after Laura was married.  The other girls each had a bedroom here until Carrie and Grace married.  Mary continued to live here even after Ma's death.  The lady who conducted our tour grew up here in De Smet and knew people who knew Ma and Mary.

The store on the right is Loftus' Store - the very same where Almanzo and Cap Garland brought back the wheat in the long winter!  We bought a couple of souvenirs here, also coon skin caps for the boys!

The red brick building is on the site of Pa's store in town where the family survived the Long Winter.  Loftus' store is directly opposite, where we are standing.

I just wanted a copy of this!

Site of Almanzo and Laura's first home - no actually second.  The first, situated a mile to the right, was burnt down.  That was Almanzo's tree claim and there are still several of his trees there.

Pa's grave and original headstone.  The others had deteriorated and have been replaced.  They are to the right of this one, all in a roped area.

This is Carrie's grave.

Do you remember Mr and Mrs Boast who turned up on Christmas Eve at the Surveyor's house and helped Ma and the girls when Pa went to file his claim?  Here's their grave site.  Mrs Boast is remembered all over town as a very generous and loving woman.

Under the cottonwood trees for a final glimpse and photograph.


  1. You look like a real prairie girl Briony-Anne!

  2. Thanks, Sarah. How badly do you think Zoe and Faith would like a dress like this?

  3. I have been to Pepin, where Laura was born, and this summer I went to Walnut Grove, MN for the 40th Anniversary of the Pageant. I also did a quick trip thru De Smet about 12 years ago. Now, in about a week, I’m going back for the tour. I’m looking forward to it!