Prairie Homestead, Badlands National Park

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Prairie Homestead

For a glimpse as to what homestead life was like in southwestern South Dakota during the early 1900s, visit the Prairie Homestead. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Prairie Homestead is one of the few remaining visuals of the homestead era.

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  • Homestead Prairie is located 2 miles south of the northeast entrance to Badlands National Park.
  • This site is open during the daylight hours from May through Sept.

Overview

The Prairie Homestead is a sod dugout cabin that was built by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Brown in 1909. The Browns used native cottonwood trees for beams, and plowed buffalo grass sod for the upper walls of their home. The sod construction kept their home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. A cave and chicken house were also dug into the bank next to the house. The cave served a refrigerator in the summer, and kept food from freezing in the winter.

Location/Directions

To get to Homestead Prairie, take Exit 131 off Interstate 90, the entrance to Badlands National Park. Homestead Prairie is located 2 miles south on Highway 240.

Prairie Homestead
21070 SD Hwy 240, Philip SD
(605) 433-5400
Website

Hours/Seasons

Open daylight hours May - October.

Fees/Cost

  • Adults $7.00
  • Youth (10-17) $6.00
  • Children (0-9) Free
  • Family Discount $19.00

More Info

Most of the original structure is in place today, including the beams and log front. Some of the sod around the window area had to be replaced, but was replaced by sod from the same field the Browns harvested their sod. Not only is it remarkable that much of the original sod is still intact, but that the house even exists at all. Many of the other homes built during the same era have since been washed away in the rains and have returned to the earth.

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