De Smet, South Dakota

City of De Smet, South Dakota Official Website

Depot Museum / Harvey Dunn School

Visit the Depot Museum and take a step back in time.  The Museum is full of historical information and items.

A Little History About the Depot:

  • The current Depot was built in 1906 (a fire in 1905 destroyed the original one that Pa Ingalls served on).
  • The Ingalls' family lived in the Surveyor's Shanty (can be toured at Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society).
  • The first railroad through De Smet was owned by Dakota Central Railway Company.
  • A Chicago broker, Marvin Hughit, surveyed and bought the railway and surrounding land.
  • The Chicago Northwestern Railroad Company bought the land in 1881.
  • The railroad had two passenger trains in De Smet for many years.  One of the passenger trains was often called “the 400”.  This name referred to how many minutes it took to travel on the train from Huron, South Dakota to Chicago, Illinois.
  • For many years, the depot was one of the town's main gathering points.  People would stop to visit and watch the trains come an go.
  • The Depot eventually became the property of the City of De Smet after the Chicago Northwestern Railroad Company no longer found it useful.  A local banker (S. Neal Meyer ) purchased the depot and donated it to the City of De Smet for a museum.
  • Doris Thorson donated money to the city to refurbish the Depot.  The Depot building still has some of the original windows, fixtures, and lights (over a hundred years later).  The brick walk way was laid by the Chicago Northwestern Railroad company in 1906.
  • The original fire/curfew bell of the town is on display at the museum.

The Depot Museum features many historical artifacts and items.  Some of these include:

  • Ballroom Vintage Clothing
  • Native American and Military Artifacts
  • Pot-Bellied Stove
  • Ornate Organ
  • Children's Toys
  • Wildlife Display
  • And More!

Adjacent to the museum is the school house attended by Harvey Dunn (made famous in his painting "After School").

The Depot Museum relies on donations for it's operation.  It is operated by 28 volunteers. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Charmeine Bohn at 854-3809 or Helen Gehm at 854-3274.

Museum Hours:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mon. - Sat.) in the months of June, July, and August.

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