Mr. Harthorn and his son came to Dakota Territory early in the spring of 1880 with a load of lumber to build a grocery store. There were no buildings other than the Surveyors’ House, where the Ingalls family was living at the time. Mr. Harthorn persuaded Ma and Pa to board and feed them.
Established in 1880, the general store of Harthorn & Son, may truthfully be designated as a pioneer establishment of De Smet. It carried a full line of dry goods, clothing, crockery, hats, caps, boots and shoes.
The present block building was built in 1904. It soon became Floto Auditorium which held basketball games, dances, roller skating and evening movies. It then became Klinkel’s Tavern and Pool Hall. Many locals remember Lawrence Welk playing for dances there many times.
Successors to the building have been the No Name Inn and The Dugout.
In The Long Winter, Laura wrote about the Harthorn’s Store:
During the Long Winter, Laura and Carrie went to Harthorn’s Store to look for a gift for Pa. They found nothing but dull gray suspenders, and so they proceeded to the Loftus Store, where they found a beautiful pair of blue suspenders. In the fall of 1880, while Pa was in Harthorn’s Store, he was warned of the upcoming winter. The settlers were warned that every seventh winter was a hard winter and that at the end of three times seven years came the hardest winter of all. This was to be the twenty-first winter with seven months of blizzards.