South Dakota History December 15, 2021
by Annie Little House On The Prairie Was Invented At This Old House In South Dakota From The 1800s
You have read the books and watched the show, but did you know that the story behind the iconic “Little House on the Prairie” started right here in South Dakota? While South Dakota is home to many world-changing inventions (a la the modern hot air balloon, cyclotron, and even Black Hills gold jewelry), the most beloved and wholesome of the bunch has to be that of Laura Ingalls and her family:
In the winter of 1879, a man by the name of Charles Ingalls (pictured with wife, Caroline) brought his family to South Dakota, fell in love with the area, and filed for a formal homestead in the small community of De Smet.
Before their arrival to South Dakota, the Ingalls were constantly moving for various work opportunities and in a short amount of time made their way from Pepin, Wisconsin (where daughter, Laura, was born) to Rothville, Missouri, Independence, Kansas, and even Oklahoma territory, making the move to the Dakotas nothing out of the ordinary.
As time went on, the Ingalls would grow to love their new home, so much so that they helped establish and build the community, with Pa, Ma, and Mary Ingalls (Laura's sister) spending the rest of their lives in their modest home on the prairie.
During her time in De Smet, Laura would also attend school and accept her first-ever teaching position, as well as meet and marry Almanzo Wilder, with whom she would buy her first home and start a family.
Due to Almanzo's (pictured here with Laura) many health conditions, the Wilders would eventually move to a warmer climate (Missouri), where Laura would begin her writing career and eventually pen the iconic "Little House on the Prairie" series.
Laura always considered De Smet to be her home and based many of her books there, including "The Long Winter," "Little Town on the Prairie," and "These Happy Golden Years."
To this day, Laura and the Ingalls' family's legacy lives on in De Smet, thanks to the Ingalls Homestead, Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, and the original Ingalls House.
To get an even better look at the iconic Ingalls Homestead, check out
This South Dakota Homestead May Just Be One Of The Most Famous In America.
For even more about De Smet, click on
The Historic Small Town That Every South Dakotan Should Visit At Least Once.
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Address: De Smet, SD 57231, USA