Tuesday, June 26, 2007

De Smet!

Ingalls home in de Smet
Originally uploaded by Chez VH
I've always wanted to see the little town on the prairie described in so many of Laura's famous books. We took a day trip there on our first full day in South Dakota (and took a handful of Braga-Henebrys along for the ride).

I'd like to start by saying that I wish I had planned for this a little better ahead of time. We had a great time and it was really neat be "on location", but I know there were other spots I missed as I look over the town literature and such and we didn't allow enough time to visit the Ingalls homestead...

Laura Ingalls Wilder Tour... This was a little pricey for a crowd, but seemed like the heart of what we were visiting de Smet for! :) The tour included the Ingalls home (pictured here), the Surveyor's House and a replica of the Brewster school. You can't take pictures inside, but the buildings were quite interesting, the guides passed lots of historic pictures around for us to look at and it was neat to be able to touch things that had actually belonged to the family (like the big cupboard set that Pa had built for Ma). The stories our guide told were quite interesting (and in many cases added to what we knew from the original books) and she was able to answer the additional questions thrown at her from those on the tour.

More photos here

We also saw the old main street, a big statue of Fr. De Smet (a great missionary worth reading about!), the Loftus Store and the De Smet Depot Museum.

A fun and memorable time was had by all. I was also happy to find postcards of some of the Ingalls photos and sites at the above-mentioned Loftus Store.

Also, as reported by Melissa Wiley, both the Loftus Store and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Society Gift Shop have copies of the unabridged Little House Prequels (get them while you can - reprintings will only be available in an abridged format). Read the details here.


Alice Gunther said...

So extremely interesting!

I've been eager to learn if de Smet was named after Father de Smet, a Catholic priest! I just bought the book on his life from Tan, so I'll be sure to let you know!

Love2Learn Mom said...

Yes - it is named after him! There is a statue in the center of town in his honor and I remember something mentioned about it in By the Shores of Silver Lake. I'll have to look up the reference. I hope you enjoy the book - we enjoyed a chapter book for young people about Fr. De Smet that's published by Neumann Press.