Virtual Tour of De Smet: Pa’s Store


(Pa’s Store Building after it was moved to the back of the lot. It is pictured in the image above with an old car sitting in front of it. To the right, the corner of the First National Bank is shown with horse and buggy in front of it. Taken in 1912).

History of the Location

Charles Ingalls bought this property at the corner of Second Street and Calumet Avenue under contract for deed on July 17, 1880 from Albert Keep. He was a railroad officer of the Western Town Lot Company who platted the city of De Smet. Mr. Ingalls assigned his interest in the property to his wife, Caroline L. Ingalls, who received the deed on October 2, 1882. After spending the Long Winter in Pa’s building, the Ingalls rented it to Mr. Carroll. They sold the lot to J.H. Carroll in 1885 for $600. Although Pa sold his store building, he then continued on with a store in different locations. John Carroll sold the lot to the First National Bank of De Smet on January 15, 1887. Mr. Carroll was the bank president.

Pa’s building was moved east along Second Street and used at various times as a residence, and for some years as a doctor’s office. After WWI, Pa’s store was torn down and the lumber was used to build another structure in De Smet.

The existing brick structure, built in 1887 on the corner where Pa’s store was built, has housed a bank, Green’s Law Office and now Gass Law Office.

Excerpt From The Long Winter

The Ingalls family moved into Pa’s store on Main Street late in October of 1880. It was predicted to be a very hard winter. Late in December the trains quit running as they were stuck in great drifts of snow and were unable to dig out. The homesteaders would have to do with what supplies they had. Laura described grinding wheat to make bread. With the trains not running, the homesteaders had no fuel to keep warm. Laura helped Pa twist hay to heat their home. It became a very long and dreary winter, but Pa always tried to keep their spirits up by singing and playing the fiddle. Working together, the Ingalls family survived the hard winter. In the spring the trains ran once again and Pa, Ma and the girls moved back to the homestead.


One comment on “Virtual Tour of De Smet: Pa’s Store

  1. “The Long Winter” is one of my favorite LIW books. It’s an especially fun read during Winter months. I can’t imagine enduring the constant cold as they did for such a long period of time.

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