De Smet, SD

Famous for being home to the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead, De Smet, South Dakota is a small town with a big history, and is truly the “little town on the prairie.”


De Smet was settled in 1879, when the railroad was constructed through the state.  The town was named after Pierre-Jean de Smet, who was a Belgian missionary to the Native Americans in the area.  The town of De Smet was originally developed as a center for dairying, and today has an economy based on agriculture.

Recreation/Community Events

De Smet is most popularly known as the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a legacy much celebrated by the town and its inhabitants.   Each summer De Smet celebrates Wilder and her life through a multitude of activities and events.

Tours are offered of the Ingalls homestead, and each summer a pageant is held, depicting the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family.  Covered wagon rides, an 1880’s school session, Ma’s Little house, a Prairie Exhibit, and more are all built around the family’s life in the town of De Smet.

Lake Thompson, also prominently featured in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, provides four season’s worth of recreation in De Smet.  Snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and fishing are all popular on the lake.  Lake Thompson features a recreation area with camping and a group rental lodge.

Contact Information

  • De Smet City Hall
  • 218 Calumet Ave. SE, De Smet, SD 57231
  • (Toll Free) 1-866-528-7273
Categories: Cities, Eastern SD

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