Today we drove about 90 miles each way to:
Of course I've heard of Laura Ingalls Wilder although I've never read her books nor watched the TV show staring Michal Landon based on her life on the prairie. Laura was born in 1867 and died in 1957. She wrote her first book at age 65!
She lived on this site during parts of her childhood. "Pa" Ingalls took part in the Homestead Act.
The Homestead Act was signed in 1863 or thereabouts (I forget). People were provided with a quarter section which is 160 acres. In South Dakota they had to farm at least 10 acres for five years and build a home on it. Provided this was done, they then had to file papers which cost approximately $17.00 and the land was theirs.
In the distance you can see the West Bethany Church which was built in 1905 and was located 10 miles from the Ingalls Homestead and moved in the 1990's to the complex.
Today the site holds a visitor center, newly constructed buildings and structures that were moved to the site. There are no original buildings still there. However, five cottonwood trees remain of the thousands that Pa planted on his homestead claim.
One building that was moved to the site in the Flindt's Garage. It was built in 1901 in the town of DeSmet.
Since it took a while to build a suitable house, people on the prairie would live in either a Sod Hut that would be partially buried in the ground. This huts lasted 5 to 7 years. After a heavy rain, the sod would drip for days.
Or they would build a shanty with tar paper siding. The inside walls would be "papered" in newspapers.
There is a replica of the Ingalls home but OOPS! we got so engrossed with talking to a guide that I forgot to take a picture.
We took a ride on a covered wagon to the far end of the property
to the Little Prairie school, Johnson School No 20.
where we got some "learnin" in readin, riting, and rithmatic.
At age 15 Laura was a teacher in a similar school.
Admission is $10.00, five and under free. There are 4 RV sites with water and electric at $30.00 a night.