The Ingalls family were among the millions of Americans who filed for homestead claims during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Learn about the process of getting a homestead and hear a song from the period...


What can you see and do in De Smet?

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society

Tours begin in the Society’s gift shop and include the surveyor’s house where the Ingalls lived, a house Pa built in 1887, a schoolhouse which Laura and Carrie attended, and a replica of Brewster School where Laura taught. Hundreds of items are on display which belonged to the Ingalls family. The Discovery Center provides hands-on activities. The Society offers a map for a walking/driving tour that includes sixteen places in De Smet which were important to the Ingalls and Wilder families. Be sure to pick up one of these so you don’t miss any Laura sites!

Loftus Store

This general store that Laura describes in her books still stands on Calumet Avenue in De Smet. It was operated by Mr. Loftus until his death in 1921. Today a variety of pioneer-style items are for sale in the historic building. Historic memorabilia are also on display.

First Congregational Church

The Ingalls family helped to establish the First Congregational Church of De Smet. Pa helped build the original building in 1882, which still stands at the corner of 2nd Street and Loftus Ave. In 1967 First Congregational Church (now also known as United Church of Christ) sold the building to the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, which now meets in the original building. First Congregational Church installed a bell in 1884, which is preserved on a memorial tower outside the church’s present building on Highway 14 W in De Smet.

De Smet Cemetery

Pa, Ma, Mary, Carrie, Grace, and the infant son of Almanzo and Laura are all buried in this cemetery.

Ingalls Homestead 

This privately-owned living history museum located on what was once the Ingalls homestead brings the days of the pioneers to life. Visitors are invited to take part in activities such as twisting hay, grinding wheat, making rope, and riding a horse-drawn covered wagon.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant 

Each summer an outdoor drama presented in De Smet tells the story of one of Laura’s books.

Old Settler’s Day 

This celebration held each year in June is the longest-running festival in South Dakota. Participants can enjoy music, races, a parade, food and craft vendors, and other activities. In 1939, many years after Almanzo and Laura had settled in Missouri, they returned to De Smet to attend this event.

and more!