Tuesday, August 31, 2010

De Smet, South Dakota

Okay, I’ll admit it, when Char said she would like to go to De Smet, South Dakota, to see one of the homesteads of Charles and Caroline Ingalls I didn’t exactly jump up and down with excitement. This homestead, as well as others, was made popular by the Little House series of books written by Laura Wilder Ingalls. Later those books became the basis of the hit television show, ‘Little House on the Prairie’. Well, as it turned out, with the exception of visiting with the Morrow’s, De Smet was the highlight of my trip. It scored higher than Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the needles highway although they are well worth the visit.

Yes, there really was a Charles, Caroline, Laura, and Mary Ingalls. While they had several homesteads across the Midwest this is a picture of their land in De Smet, their last homestead. It is here that Laura met and married Almanzo. De Smet is the basis for many of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books including, ‘By the Shores of Silver Lake’, ‘The Long Winter’, ‘Little Town on the Prairie’, ‘These Happy Golden Years’, and ‘The First Four Years’.

This is a replica of their house. Also on the homestead is a sod house and a claim shanty. A sod house was dug out of the hillside and bricks cut from sod were used for the roof. Sod houses stayed cool in the summer and warm in the winter but after a heavy rain the walls and roof would drip water for up to three days. In addition, the original claim shanty built by Henry Burvee has been moved to the Ingalls homestead. The claim shanty is over 125 years old.

We took a ride across the homestead in a covered wagon. Take a close look at this covered wagon – it has rubber tire to help smooth out the ride. Even with the rubber tires the ride was bumpy. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been with wooden wheels.

Back in De Smet we took a tour. Here Char is standing in the doorway of the Brewster School house where Laura Wilder taught. While the building is a replica it contains many original items from the late 1880’s.

One evening we ate the Kingsbury Country Club. There were many dishes I had never heard of including Chislic which is sirloin steak cut into one half inch cubes, deep fried, sprinkled with garlic salt and served with a side of barbecue sauce. It was really quite tasty.

From De Smet we headed to the Morrow’s where the food was exceptional.


Blogger Aravis said...

I didn't realize that they had maintained the homestead for tourists. It sounds like a fascinating visit!

11:10 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

When you got to our place I could tell you guys had had a great time.
Did you see your own face on Mr R??

10:41 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I always enjoyed the books and the TV show, so this was very interesting! Thanks for the tour and I'm sure great fun was had at the Morrows!!!

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Lanny said...

What beautiful country! And so green still. Glad Char took you to see a bit of girl history.

6:43 AM  
Blogger nora said...

I'm glad you took the time to stop. I would love to visit!

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you liked the place! I work at the Ingalls Homestead and practically live there during the summer, it is so much fun to work there!!
So, you tried chislic, that stuff is so tasty, one of my family's favorite meals!! But chislic can be any kind of meat chopped up and fried. My family just fries it with no seasonings at all.

I hope you come back to visit De Smet again and I am glad you had a wonderful time!

7:04 PM  

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