Flashback Friday: Carrie Ingalls & Her Tar Paper Shack

Carrie Ingalls—you may have heard of her. She often seems underrated, written off in Pioneer Girl and the Little House novels as rather sickly and characterized as simply a little sister. Though, as I have suggested in the Pioneer Girl Project post “Carrie Ingalls, A Pioneer Woman,” she is much more interesting and, personally, my favorite Ingalls daughter. Small in stature and a little scrappy, in 1907, Carrie joined the many other single women who took advantage of the Homestead Act—setting up her tar paper shack on a claim near Top Bar, South Dakota.

From the picture above, you can see how desolate the place must have been. The photograph appears in Pioneer Girl Perspectives: Exploring Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrating Elizabeth Jameson’s essay, “They Myth of Happy Childhood (and Other Myths about Frontiers, Families, and Growing Up).”

 

—Jennifer McIntyre


Photo courtesy of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society