Welcome to Prairie Village, a living museum of the past. Located 2 miles west of Madison, South Dakota on the shores of Lake Herman and situated on 120 acres, Prairie Village has over 40 antique-filled buildings reliving the days of an active turn of the century main street. Visit the Lawrence Welk Opera House, sod and log houses, country school, churches and one of the last remaining chapel railroad cars, the "Emmanuel". See agricultural displays, steam tractors, sawmill and much more. Hours of operation and admission.
We have a gift shop where you can get drinks and snacks along with souvenirs of your visit. We also offer a large covered picnic shelter with connected kitchen facilities for family reunions, business picnics or other group gatherings. Church services are held every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. from June through August at the village's Junius Church. Three churches are available for weddings. For everything see the: Map of Grounds and Building Descriptions. New for 2013, free WiFi access (best signal just north of the carousel).
We are open daily from Mother's Day to Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. We offer camping April through September with 234 electrical sites available. Two Showerhouses and an RV dump station are on the grounds.
The village is surrounded by 2 miles of railroad track for the Prairie Village, Herman & Milwaukee Railroad. Buy a ticket to ride one of our trains which run every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. throughout the season, during Railroad Days, the Steam Threshing Jamboree and by special arrangement for groups. Free train rides for mothers on Mother's Day and fathers on Father's Day at 2:00p.m. Check out one of America's newest turntables and roundhouse in action.
Ride one of the world's last remaining steam-powered carousels. Operating daily, the 1893 Herschell Spillman steam carousel features German-carved horses prancing to the tune of great calliope music. Rides are available on the hour from 10:00 to 4:00 Monday through Saturday and 11:00 to 4:00 on Sundays.
Established on the current site in 1966, over the years thousands upon thousands of elementary school children have come to Prairie Village on "school tours" in May and early June to have fun while gaining knowledge and appreciation for how rural citizens lived in eastern South Dakota many years ago.
We conduct several events throughout the season (2013 Schedule of Events). On August 23, 24 & 25, 2013 the 51st Annual Steam Threshing Jamboree will feature International Harvester. Plan now to attend what promises to be another big event. The Jamboree features parades, the largest flea market in the area, over 700 antique tractors, antique car show, horse & steam powered threshing, saw mill & machinery demonstrations, tractor pulls, wagon trains, railroad roundhouse and turntable demonstrations, train & carousel rides, evening dinner train (by reservation), musical entertainment, exhibits, food and family fun.
The continued dynamic progression of Prairie Village is the result of extensive volunteerism. Find out more by going to the Volunteer's Page. Many of the dedicated volunteers are among the 386 members of the Prairie Historical Society. The requirements to become a PHS member are 100 hours of volunteer service at Prairie Village, OR at least 3 years as an exhibitor, OR a $500 cash contribution.
We offer Prairie Historical Society Associate Memberships and Season Passes. Season passes provide big money savings.
The Prairie Historical Society (Prairie Village) is a non-profit corporation and is organized for the charitable, educational, and scientific purposes within the 501(c)(3) section of the IRS code. Gifts and donations to the Prairie Historical Society are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. Feel free to contact us for further information.