De Smet, South Dakota
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.