Laura Ingalls Wilder describes this coatroom at the first school of De Smet in her book, The Long Winter: “There was no time to say anymore for the teacher came to the door with the hand bell, and they all went in the school.
They hung their coats and hoods on a row of nails in the entry where a broom stood in the corner by the water pail on the bench. Then they all went into the schoolroom.”
The first school of De Smet was attended by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sister Carrie from 1880 through 1881. The building was brand new when they started attending school there. The citizens of the city provided all the materials and built it themselves but the school was too small and the town quickly outgrew it after the first year. By 1885, it had been sold and remodeled into a house. Many families lived in it over the years. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Society purchased the home in 1999 and restored it to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The original chalkboards were found under many layers of wallpaper.
Five of the nine Little House books were based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life while living in De Smet, South Dakota. She and her family moved to the De Smet area in 1879 at the beginning of the book By the Shores of Silver Lake.
Copyright 2017 Susan Rissi Tregoning
June 14th, 2017
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