Mr. Henry Hinz first visited the town site of De Smet on January 8, 1880 while he was driving from Volga with four others who were considering locating in the town that was to be built here. The party stopped at the Ingalls and Boast homes, two railroad shanties on the banks of Silver Lake. After supper there, they walked on west to view the staked-out town site. They found nothing but stakes.
Mr. Hinz returned in February, hauling lumber overland with his partner, a man named Hall, to open the first business in De Smet: a saloon. They understood they could obtain a license in De Smet. The first building erected on this piece of prairie was a 16-by-24-foot building located on the third lot south from the corner where the Mead Hotel stood. After using it for a month, the partners replaced it with a larger one.
Eventually, this site was used as a Buick garage and an Oliver Tractor dealership. It was converted into Harvey’s Jack & Jill. Throughout the years, it has continued to be a grocery store and Maynard’s Grocery Store stands there in 2014.
This section from “Little Town on the Prairie” refers to the saloon location:
“As Laura sat sewing for Mrs. White in Clancy’s store on Main Street, a great commotion aroused her attention. A man had come out of a saloon on the opposite side of the street. He apparently had too much to drink. He took one look at the door and stuck his foot through the mosquito netting, tearing it. He met up with a short little man and together they marched down Main Street, sticking their feet through every screen door until they reached the saloon next to the Mead Hotel. Arm-in-arm they went into the saloon. The screen door slammed shut, but that one door’s mosquito netting stayed smooth and whole. Laura thought it was quite funny but Ma and Pa had a different opinion.”