There was a Buffalo Museum, home to a herd of buffalo that includes three sacred white buffalo, and a Heritage Village and Museum that we were thinking of visiting in Jamestown before we left but; we had had two late nights and we slept in a bit, so by the time we left the hotel we needed all the hours to drive to De Smet, SD.
There is a massive geocache power trail that follows the North Dakota/South Dakota and South Dakota/Missouri borders. I don’t know how many caches are on it but where we crossed from North Dakota to South Dakota we picked up #1079. We found another cache at a former rest stop or homestead and then had our lunch at the edge of a huge soybean field.After we finished our sandwiches and carrots we drove directly to De Smet. Why De Smet, you ask? Well, this little town in eastern South Dakota is where Laura Ingalls grew up and married Almanzo Wilder. Her parents settled here and her sisters, as adults, lived in nearby towns in SD. There is a tour of four buildings significant in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and we arrived just in time to catch the last one of the day.
The first building was the railroad surveyor’s house where Charles Ingalls and his family spent a winter while he worked for the railroad. After travelling almost half of her four or so years in a covered wagon, to little Laura the tiny surveryor’s house was a mansion. Behind the Surveyor’s House was the first De Smet School that Laura Ingalls and her younger sister Carrie attended. Beside the school was a prairie schooner wagon of the type Charles and Caroline Ingalls and their two daugthers travelled from Pepin, Missouri to Burr Oak, SD (their infant son died on the journey and daughter Carrie was born in Burr Oak) and back again when Laura was only about two years old. She had spent half of life in this type of wagon by the time they came to De Smet. No wonder she thought the surveyor’s house was a mansion. Those wagons are small!
By the time Laura Ingalls was 16 she was teaching at the small Brewster School about 6 miles from De Smet. This enabled her to help her parents pay for the schooling of her older sister Mary who was attending a blind school in Illinois. It was a short drive to the last house on the tour. The house that Charles Ingalls built for his wife Caroline and where they lived until they died. When Mary came back from blind school she lived with them and in the house after their deaths until shetoo passed away. At various times Carrie and her husband, who both suffered from ill health, and the youngest daughter Grace lived in the house as well. Caroline also regularly had boarders to help make ends meet. When the tour was over we drove out to the cemetary where Chalres and Caroline, and Mary and Carrie were buried; as well as the infant son of Laura and Almanzo Wilder. (You can just barely make out the name of Charles Ingalls on his marker) When we get home I am going to re-read all the books.
There was a cache called Boot Hill a mile or so away so we went to find it.
We had dinner in De Smet before continuing east toward Brookings for the night. As we drove through Arlington, keeping an eye open for the cemetary where there was a geocache, we saw this lovely memorial and made a u-turn to check it out.
The couple that takes care of the gardens at the memorial was there and we had a nice chat with them. The memorial was the brainchild of three local men and they kept the idea very quiet until they had all the money and designs and plans together. The men wanted to get it done and did not want a lot of input and suggestions from others that may delay the process. From start to finish the whole thing came about in a year.
There were listed the names of very man lost in every war – Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Perian Gulf and ongoing conflicts.