Almanzo Wilder and his brother Royal came to Dakota Territory in 1879. They each filed homestead claims north of De Smet. Almanzo wanted to farm, but Royal opened Wilder’s Feed Store on the north end of Main Street in De Smet.
According to old newspapers, the Wilder Feed Store served many purposes, including a funeral parlor, harness shop, bakery and barber shop.
Most recently, the Dakota Arts occupied this building until it moved and the building was torn down. In 2014, this location is an empty lot.
This excerpt from “The Long Winter“ refers to this building:
“It was here that Pa came for help during the long winter. The Ingalls family was running low on wheat and something had to be done. Being a very good carpenter, Pa noticed a discrepancy between the outside wall and the inside wall of the Wilder Feed Store. He took a pail and went inside and pulled a knothole out of the wall and held his pail up to the hole. Sure enough wheat came pouring out of the wall. This was Almanzo’s seed wheat! But Almanzo would never see anyone starve and helped the Ingalls family survive the very long and hard winter.”