First of all, a shocking surprise...hang on to your hat:

South Dakota is a rural state!

And perhaps more than anything else, that's why I've loved calling South Dakota home for nearly 50 years. Having grown up on a small farmstead near a small town, I've always loved the 'small town' atmosphere of our state. You may not know everyone in South Dakota, but there's a pretty good chance you know someone who does know that person you're talking about!

I've had the good fortune to live in different sections of our state, from the south central to the northeast to the far west and southeast. And, maybe like you, I could probably name pert near every town in the state, from Sisseton to Edgemont, Lemmon to Elk Point.

How about Cream City?

Huh?

Have you ever been to Cream City? I didn't think I had, but turns out I have been a number of times, even have friends there. As a matter of fact, back in my sports play-by-play days, I even called football and basketball games there!

But wait, OK I'll admit it now...Cream City isn't actually legally named Cream City.

One of the things I absolutely love is history, whether national or local. And it was that curiosity that brought me to 'Cream City'...more popularly known as De Smet. Now, while most of us know about De Smet's connection to the Ingalls family (and by the way, if you haven't been to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, do yourself and your family a favor and see it soon), there's a great history to De Smet, as I found on their website:

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson assigned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the territory that would become the state of South Dakota in defense of the Louisiana Purchase. After exploration, Clark referred to South Dakota as the “Land of Plenty”.

The present North Dakota and South Dakota area became the Dakota Territory in 1868.

With the railroad came many tents of workmen who added to the towns. The graders were closely followed by the tracklayers and then the locomotive. The first train came to De Smet in 1880.

At the May 9 meeting of the board, De Smet was named county seat. It was plotted in 1880 and incorporated in 1883. Years later it was dubbed “Cream City,” because of the high cream production.

The first family of De Smet was that of Charles P. Ingalls. He was the timekeeper for the railway construction crew at his camp on the shore of Silver Lake, a mile east of where De Smet was to be built. As construction work ceased in the fall of 1879, he and his wife, along with four daughters remained in the timekeeper’s building through the winter and spring and built what was to become Ingalls’ store.

By 1883, De Smet was a typical early prairie town. De Smet had about 60 buildings including grocery and provision stores, wagon shops, lumber yards, banks, a drug store, newspaper companies, a flour mill, a church, a school, an elevator, two attorneys, a harness shop, one hotel and two real estate dealers.

So, on your travels through South Dakota, stop by and say 'Hi' to the folks in the town once known as 'Cream City',De Smet. Have a cup of coffee, find out more about the Ingalls family and you'll find yourself leaving town feeling just a little bit better!

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