DeSmet Ingalls House, NRHP


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Little House on the Prairie in South Dakota»

We visited the town of DeSmet, South Dakota on our road trip across the state. For fans of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House series, this area is famous for serving as the setting for five of the nine books in the series. The town hosts pageants during the summer months, the graves of the Ingalls and Wilder families are in the nearby cemetery,  and the ‘House That Pa Built’ serves as a living history museum.


In real life, the Ingalls moved to Dakota territory from Minnesota after a catastrophic crop failure. Charles Ingalls worked for a relative on the railroad while looking for a homestead in South Dakota for his family. After the events of The Long Winter, Pa gave up on homesteading, bought property in the town of Desmet and built the house in 1887.


As the Ingalls family became more prosperous, they added on to the home. Today, costumed tour guides provide in depth tours of the home and the outbuildings the museum has acquired. After touring the site, we attended the pageant which was a live performance of These Happy Golden Years out in the prairie by the original homestead plot.


Location: 210 3rd Street Southwest in De Smet, South Dakota.

Designation: NRHP

Date designated or established: April 21, 1975

Date of my visit: 8/1/20092009_0726(023)