Finding Laura in De Smet, South Dakota

Last Updated on December 24, 2012 by Jody Halsted

Laura Ingalls Wilder, De Smet, South Dakota

Like most girls my age, I read every single book in the “Little House” series.  Many times.  So it was very exciting for me to visit De Smet, South Dakota last week.  De Smet is where the majority of the series takes place, and I was able to wander through the Surveyor’s House that Laura found so grand, stand in the school where Carrie got in trouble for rocking the desk (and she & Laura were sent home early), I sat in a desk in the Brewster School, where Laura first taught, explored the house that pa built in town, and roam the land they first settled outside of town- where they lived when the Long, Cold Winter began.  I even learned how to make a corncob doll.

I purchased the full set of “Little House” books for my girls.  I’m excited for us to read- and discuss- them together.  Then we will return to De Smet and explore for days.  I can’t wait to introduce my girls to Laura!

Photos, clockwise from top left:

Display of Laura Ingalls Wilder boks, with Laura’s picture, in the gift shop, run by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society.

The “house that Pa built” in De Smet.  The only remaining house built by Charles Ingalls.

The first school in De Smet and the Brewster School.

Newspaper clipping; Charles and Caroline Ingalls were the first official residents of De Smet.

Corncob dolls.

Replica of the house Pa built on the Ingalls homestead outside De Smet.

Hay roof barn at the Ingalls homestead.

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  1. Is it wrong that I never wanted to read these? My family is distantly related to Laura Ingalls and it was assumed we would all love them. I just had to buck the system. But did watch the TV show 🙂 My sister devoured every book too. They really are great and I’m sure I’ll finally read them to my boys.

  2. Keryn – It’s not wrong. 🙂 The woman who played Caroline on the TV show was a big fan of the books and she didn’t like that the show wasn’t true to the books. She referred to it as “playing house on the prairie”. 🙂

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