Here are a few Trip Advisor reviews of the Prairie Homestead. It’s great to hear from our visitors. Please leave your review on Trip Advisor.com, so we can hear your comments and continue to improve our attraction, (and also hear what we are doing right).
“So glad I included this site in my travels”
The historic presentation via video and that you could also use your phone to hear an indepth description of the homestead, or just read a paper copy, as you visited the various buildings and display items. I also thought it was wonderful that free clothing was provided if you wanted to dress the part, as you toured the site. Unfortunately we didn’t, but deep down I wanted too. I loved the white prairie dogs–unusual and sooooo cute. I also was touched by the hard life these homesteaders lead. The land was so poor that the 160 acres that was given as land grants could only feed 8 cows. Add crop failures, grass hoppers, and the Great Depression and life was not pretty for these “sodbusters”, who built their homes and outbuildings by digging into dirt mounds. You can learn more about this site by visiting it in person—you won’t be disappointed. It was even more touching to me, as I have an old photo of my grandmother sitting outside a one room wooden shack with my mom on her knee. It made me appreciate all the blessings I have, which I sometimes take for granted. Please note, this home was added onto, as the owner found the means to do so. The original section has a dirt floor and is divided into a sleeping area and kitchen. – California
Fascinating restoration that gives a realistic look at the hardscrabble lifestyle of prairie pioneers. The soddy and outbuildings are lovingly and authentically restored. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. – Maple Grove, MN
“Interesting glimpse into America’s past.”
In 1909, Ed and Alice Brown filed a claim under the Homestead Act for 160 acres in the Badlands of South Dakota. They piled their belongings in a covered wagon and emigrated from Nebraska, arriving at their claim in early autumn. They immediately dug their home into the side of the hill, constructing some outside walls of sod (held together by the entangled roots of prairie grass) and making use of a nearby cottonwood grove for necessary timber.
Amazingly, their original home remains intact. A video at the attraction’s visitor center/gift shop does a good job of telling the story of the Browns and of South Dakota homesteaders generally. Interesting photos of the Browns daily life augment the presentation.
You’re then free to tour the homestead at your leisure. How comfortable/uncomfortable do you think their dirt-floor dugout home would have been during South Dakota’s harsh winter? You might find yourself surprised. Or you may ask what their life was like that drove them to this lifestyle.
This is a true sod house and anyone who has read “Sod Diaries” will love it.”
Even the teenagers were impressed. They even had an educational video before and pioneer clothes for the family to dress up in and take silly pictures. Loved this stop. The outhouse was great. -West Lafayette, Indiana