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Ingalls Family Homestead


PIERRE, S.D. - Nestled between towering trees of the De Smet State Forest, the marshes of Silver Lake, and endless prairie grasses lays a little piece of land where the Ingalls family made their home. They homesteaded near De Smet, S.D., in 1880 after previously attempting to forge a life in Wisconsin, Kansas and Minnesota.

Laura Ingalls Wilder brought De Smet to life in the pages of her beloved children’s book series, “Little House.”  Laura featured the town of De Smet and the surrounding area in five of her books:
By the Shores of Silver Lake
Little Town on the Prairie
The Long Winter
These Happy Golden Years
The First Four Years 

Laura spent much of her childhood and early adulthood near the De Smet area.  She lived on the Ingalls Homestead with her parents, Charles and Caroline, and sisters Mary, Carrie, and Grace. She moved from the Ingalls homestead to a nearby claim shanty after marrying her husband, Almonzo Wilder.

A historical plaque may be viewed at the Ingalls’ homestead site located east of De Smet off SD Hwy 14. For more information on how to experience the history of Laura Ingalls Wilder in De Smet, visit

The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight historical markers all across South Dakota. Click on the special “Marks of History” link at to access the complete list of articles.

The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.


Media Notes: 
Information for this release was obtained from “Brevet’s South Dakota Historical Markers”.
The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers. Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today’s standards. Please view the markers at your own discretion.