Virtual Tour of De Smet: Bradley Drugstore

Bradley Drugstore

History of the Building Location

Next to Fuller’s Hardware was Bradley’s Drugstore, run by young George Bradley and his wife, Hattie. Charles Ingalls would often step across the street to exchange stories of the day, tell jokes and maybe play a game of checkers.

George Bradley, a well-known druggist, arrived in De Smet in May 1880. His pharmacy was the first ever established within the community. In addition to a fine stock of drugs and chemicals, he handled jewelry, books, stationery, paints and supplies. Mr. Bradley was a member of the school board for a number of years. He was also a member of the city council. He was prominent in civic affairs and also a person of public spirit who was always ready to aid in any movement or project for the De Smet community.

Mr. Bradley was a native of Wisconsin and was born in Columbia County, July 22, 1856. He married Miss Hattie L. Suffron in Fall River, Wisconsin on August 14, 1878. They had two children, both born on the Dakota prairie.

The Bradley Drugstore stood where the Halverson Office Building now stands today. For many years a Super Value grocery store was located at this site.

Excerpt from Little Town on the Prairie

“For the next literary meeting, there was music. Pa with his fiddle and Gerald Fuller with his accordion. Mrs. Bradley sang a solo that made the women cry and the men choke up because it was such a beautiful and sad song.”

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.

Virtual Tour of De Smet: Fuller Hardware

Store History

At the age of thirty, C.G.S. Fuller formed a partnership with Andrew Dox Fuller and opened a hardware store in Brookings, South Dakota. The year was about 1879. The stock of goods were hauled from Tracy, Minnesota by team and wagon because no railroad was available. In 1880, Fuller moved his stock of hardware, again by team and wagon, to De Smet. The Fuller-Dox partnership was dissolved in 1881.Fuller Hardware 2 copy

Family History

Fuller Hardware copy

Pictured left to right: Clerk Mr. Reddy, owner C.S.G. Fuller’s wife Chloe Dow Fuller and her sister Bersha Dow Dunn. Chloe and Bersha’s brother was Nathan Dow who married Grace Ingalls. Bersha is the mother of Harvey Dunn, famous artist.

C.G.S. Fuller was born in Bath, England on June 20, 1847. In 1860 he came with his parents to live in Syracuse, New York. He would later work in Chicago and then move to South Dakota. Fuller married Chloe Thomasa Dow on February 26, 1883. Chloe was born on February 24, 1865 in Portage, Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. Fuller are both buried in the De Smet cemetery.

Additional businesses at this location 

Bouchard’s, Burkart’s and Tennies have located their stores on this lot. A new drug store was built on the lot in 1927. It became the Buchele Drug Store in 1945.

Excerpt from The Long Winter

“During the Long Winter, Pa Ingalls frequently stretched a rope and walked through the blizzard from his store building to the opposite one, Fuller’s Hardware. That early business was a gathering place for townspeople. The proprietor, Charleton George Summer Fuller was one of the first citizens of De Smet.”

Virtual Tour of De Smet: Garland House

Syndicate Hotel & Garland House 3

Mrs. Margaret Garland

Mrs. Margaret Garland came to Dakota Territory in 1879. She was a widower with three children Sarah Lovenia, Florence and “Cap” Garland from the Little House series, who settled in Lake Preston in the winter of 1879-1880. Later in 1880, she moved to De Smet and eventually had a boarding house built called the Garland House, which stood next to their home on the corner of Joliet Avenue and Second Street. The boarding house was located near Charles Ingalls’ store that the Ingalls lived in during the long winter.

In 1887, Mrs. Garland sold the Garland property to the Syndicate Hotel Company and the all-brick Syndicate Hotel was constructed. The Garland home was purchased along with their boarding house and the rear portion of the hotel construction frame served as the kitchen for the new hotel.

The Syndicate Hotel was first operated by Charles Ely and his family. The hotel changed many owners through the years. It was razed in 1991 and is now an empty lot on the corner.

Oscar Edmund “Cap” Garland

cap garland

Oscar Edmund “Cap” Garland was born in Avoca, Wisconsin on December 27, 1864. He moved with his mother and two sisters to De Smet, SD. Laura tells of Cap and Almanzo making the trip south of De Smet to retrieve a supply of wheat for the homesteaders during the Long Winter.

Laura never extensively mentioned her schoolmate “Cap” Garland in her Little House series, however, she held an adolescent admiration for him, but had stronger feelings for Almanzo, who was older, an established homesteader and had the finest horses around. Although, Laura fancied Cap she mentioned he was a beau to her close friend, Mary Power. The two couples were all good friends and enjoyed sleigh-riding together.

Cap died while still young in an explosion of a threshing machine engine in 1890.

Florence Garland

sisters sarah lovenia & florence garland

Florence Garland was born on May 14, 1862 in Wisconsin. She was the first official teacher in De Smet, SD, which opened in November 1880 and taught the Ingalls girls, as Laura described in the Long Winter. Both Laura and Carrie were taught by Florence and she placed Laura in the fifth reader.

Florence’s first teaching position was short-lived since the long winter caused the term to end early. After the long, hard winter, Almanzo’s sister, Eliza Jane Wilder, who had a land claim near De Smet, taught Laura and Carrie in the First School. Remember in Little Town on the Prairie, Laura did not always agree with Miss Wilder. She thought the teacher was unfair when she punished Carrie.

She married Charles Dawley on December 7, 1887 in De Smet. They lived the rest of their lives in the home that they built on Third Street.

Studying Ma Ingalls’ Shawl

The Laura Ingall Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet, South Dakota preserves and displays thousands of artifacts for visitors on our Historic Homes tours to see and learn from. Some of our artifacts are “time period” items that are simply of the time period when Laura and her family were living. However, other items belonged to the Ingalls family. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at one of our unique Ingalls family items, Ma Ingalls’ shawl.


Using textile and fashion history to study clothing items can often reveal many things about the owner, such as:

  • personal taste and style
  • personal stature (height, weight, build)
  • item use and function
  • social standing
  • geographic location (parka verses light jacket)

Looking closely at clothing items can be a great way to learn about history. We recently asked Dr. Laurel Wilson of Missouri to provide some insight and commentary on some of the necklaces that Rose Wilder Lane wore, which we now have in our collection. You can read that blog post here.

Dr. Wilson also generously agreed to help us study and learn from Ma’s shawl. She is a Professor Emerita of the University of Missouri where she taught courses about the history of costume and textiles and curated the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection. She is currently a volunteer at the Boone County Historical Society and on the Collections Committee. We are very thankful to Dr. Wilson for her insight on these items. Whenever possible, she has provided us with references.

Today’s photographs show Ma’s shawl in a peachy beige color. However, our original records describe it as a “brown crocheted shawl”. The most likely explanation for this is that the color has changed and faded over time. After all, the item is more than 100 years old!IMG_4673

Dr. Wilson divided her comments on this piece into two categories: what we know and what we have to guess. Dr. Wilson also explained that shawls as a clothing group are particularly difficult to study, because as a general rule they are generic and hard to place in a specific time period.

What we know about Ma’s shawl:

Dr. Wilson said, “Knitting and crochet were skills that were considered necessary, especially for women who needed to create stockings, hats, mittens and sweaters for family use. Many women knew basic patterns, and more complex patterns were available in a variety of publications including Godey’s Lady’s Book and Harpers Bazaar. The shawl displays a fairly simple repetitive pattern that would be easy for an experienced needlewoman to do, even while being interrupted by children and other household distractions. If the color I am seeing on screen (peachy beige) is correct, the shawl was probably made with a dyed yarn, rather than a natural wool color. The pattern is attractive and even, indicating that the maker was experienced in her craft.”

What we need to guess or infer about Ma’s shawl:

Dr. Wilson said, “The shawl likely was made ca. 1900-1915. There are quite a few publications that included knit and crochet shawls during this 15-year period. The size is smaller than the normal shawl size worn in the 19th century so it probably is post-1900. There was a “colonial” revival during the 1920s but Caroline Ingalls died in 1924 at age 84, so she may not have done much needlework during the 1920s. However, the shawl does not show much wear so could have been made late in her life.”

Laura’s Legacy

We are dedicated to “bringing the Laura Ingalls Wilder legacy to life today while preserving it for the future.” Rest assured that the shawl is being carefully stored and preserved when it is not on display at our historic homes tour. Thank you for reading our blog today. We hope that you found this interesting and educational.


Meet our staff: Tessa Flak

Last month, Tessa joined the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society as the new executive director. Below is our Q&A session with her about the new role. Please visit this post to read Tessa’s initial introduction.


Q: Which do you prefer, coffee or tea?

A: Iced coffee.

Q: What are three words that describe you?

A: Funny, loyal, history buff (well, that’s four words, but oh well!).

Q: What is one random fact about you?

A: During the summer of 2014, I spent two months doing an ethnographic research project on a mural in an indigenous Mayan community in Guatemala.

Q: What is your role at the Historic Homes (e.g. tour guide, director)?

A: I am the new executive director, which is basically my dream job. I’m very interested in research and preservation and am a huge Laura fan!

Q: How long have you been working at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society?

A: I started on October 7th, 2015, so not very long ago!

Q: Which book in the Little House Series is your favorite? Why?

A: That’s easy: Farmer Boy. I was a huge tomboy as a child. We lived on a farm and I loved to go outside and help my dad with the chores. We had cats, dogs, pigs and horses. I am a big horse lover. So, I could actually relate more to Almanzo as a child than I did to Laura. Growing up with horses on a family farm gave me a lot to connect to with Farmer Boy.

Q: Which book about Laura’s life and legacy is your favorite? Why?

A: Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Woman behind the Legend by John E. Miller is my favorite one. I enjoyed it because it not only talks about Laura and her legacy, but it really explains the historical connections between pioneer times and Laura’s life. For example, it goes into more detail on some of the local histories and it provides various examples of experiences similar to those the Ingalls family faced, like the long, hard winter. I’m a big history buff, so anytime there is a connection between history and Laura’s life…I’m interested!

Q: What projects are you excited about working on right now?

A: Soon, I’ll be contacting Bill Anderson to work on the next edition of the Lore together. Going into the winter months, it seems like there will be a lot of projects here, too. For the gift shop, we are working on a new ornament in the series, new designs for t-shirts and sweatshirts and a new calendar. We will also spend part of the winter working on a new display for the exhibit room.

Q: Which of the historic buildings on the Historic Homes Tour is your favorite? Why?

A: When I was growing up in Iowa, I gave tours for eight summers in the Master’s Hotel, which is one of the many places Laura lived. I could really connect with Laura there. Here, I feel like the Surveyors’ House has the strongest connection to Laura. She spent so much time describing her first few moments exploring the family’s new home, and that had a big impact on me. She called this home a “mansion”, and today, many of us would not even want to live there. However, after living in a sod shanty, a hotel room and dugouts, the Surveyors’ House would feel like a mansion!

Q: If you were giving a tour of the Historic Homes and only had time to show visitors two artifacts, which two would they be?

A: First, I’d show them the Garth Williams illustrations. There are 61 of his original drawings here at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society. These drawings – the original sketches from the books involving De Smet – are what are used to create our ornament collection.

I also really like in the Ingalls Home how there is a display with Ma’s, Laura’s and Rose’s dishes. It is neat to see all three generations there together. Also, I find Ma’s cupboards in that kitchen to be very special, because Pa built them for her. It must have seemed huge and amazing to her to have all of that storage and such a large kitchen for the time period.

Q: How does Laura or Laura’s legacy inspire you?

A: I enjoy Laura’s quotes and sayings because she reminds you to be thankful for what you have. I try to live this way myself, by being grateful. They had so little, and yet were so happy. I want to keep that mindset going for future generations as we give tours here in De Smet.

She even felt lucky to be able to attend school, and that’s easy to take for granted nowadays. Since Ma herself was a schoolteacher, she pushed Laura into going and that was neat, because Ma and Pa could have used Laura’s help at home.

Laura’s life really shows us that the pioneers didn’t have much and we are very fortunate today.

Laura’s Legacy: 2015 Fundraising Campaign

Be a part of Laura’s Legacy!

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society is excited to introduce our 2015 fundraising campaign, Laura’s Legacy!

Since 1957, the Memorial Society was created for visitors to be able to take a step back in time by providing exceptional programs and visitor experiences to families, schoolchildren, and tourists from around the world each year. _DC_9783

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society is a non-profit organization and we make it our mission to preserve Laura’s historic homes and increase the awareness of Laura Ingalls Wilder, pioneer life, and the history of De Smet, South Dakota.


To further our endeavor, however, requires a strong financial foundation, which is built by Laura fans such as yourself. A financial gift from you will be a big help in reaching our goal. Because of these reasons we are asking for your wholehearted support.

In order to continue to share our collections and programs with visitors, we must count on you to make Laura’s legacy possible. This is your opportunity to make a thoughtful donation to ensure our future!

I can’t stress enough how much your support will mean to all of us!

Thank you,

Tessa & Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society


For questions or to make a donation:

Call us at 1-800-880-3383.

Click to visit our website.