This is a continuation of a travel series to South Dakota. To start at the beginning, go HERE. Post two is HERE.
On day two of our vacation to South Dakota we went to the historic wild west town of Deadwood. We did so much in a day and a half in this town that I couldn't possibly cover it all into one post, so I am dividing Deadwood into three posts: Part 1 will cover the town of Deadwood, Part 2 will cover the historic Adams House, and Part 3 will cover the Mount Moriah Cemetery.
Deadwood originated as a gold mining town when in 1875 pioneer Frank Bryant was hunting deer and instead found a sparkling metal. Miners in search of a fortune followed establishing a town in 1876.
Today the gold is long gone, and Deadwood is now a tourist town loaded with history for lovers of the Old West.
We arrived in Deadwood very early in the morning, when most businesses were still closed. We decided to take advantage of the serene morning and took a lovely paved nature trail that was located behind the Deadwood Chamber Visitor Center. The trail ran along Whitewood Creek. It had two very pretty bridges with views of the "mountains" in the distance.
The Chamber Visitor Center is housed in a gorgeous building. It contains all the usual information every Visitor Center provides, but there are also displays explaining Deadwood's rich history. It is a must stop before you begin exploring Deadwood.
By the time we were finished touring the Visitor Center and walking the nature trail, the stores were opening up, so off we went on a walking tour of Deadwood.
Most of the businesses in Deadwood are casinos or bars. There are some stores, but most are souvenir gift shops. As much as I enjoyed admiring the western architecture of the town, I was disappointed that there was not a lot of shopping. My husband and I don't gamble or drink, so other than taking the walking tour and learning the back history of the buildings, there was not much else to do on the historic main street. We were also surprised that there weren't any cute shops to eat or drink anything other than alcohol. There were no chocolate shops, ice cream parlors, bakeries, etc.; the typical stuff you see in most tourist towns. Every business was either a bar, a casino, or a souvenir gift shop.
This is an old gasoline station renovated for wine tasting.
Deadwood's past is well-known for its rough and rowdy crowd. It was a place where miners came to drink, gamble and spend some time with "ladies of the night". This bar/casino played up on that heritage by placing scantily clad mannequins in the upper story windows.
You can take a guided bus tour of Deadwood for $20.00 per person. We did not take this tour. We picked up a brochure at the Visitors Center and did a self-guided walking tour instead. There is also a trolley that charges only $1.00 per person or $5.00 for an all day pass. It runs at regular intervals between all hotels, motels, and other key stops.
They really love to play up on the old west theme in Deadwood, coming up with a lot of creative titles for their establishments.
The Franklin Hotel is the grandest old hotel on the historic main street. We went inside to check out the Victorian architecture of their lobby and it was stunning! There also have great food and restaurants here, guests can eat on the veranda pictured below or inside at one of their other dining options. Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and John Wayne are a few of the famous guests who stayed in this hotel.
This hotel used to be a Homestead Slime Plant in 1906.
Perhaps Deadwood's most favorite resident was Wild Bill Hickok, who was shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall on August 2, 1876 at this saloon.
You can walk in and just take pictures of the saloon, but they ask for a small donation or store purchase if you do. They also offer paid, guided tours.
After taking the walking tour we were pretty hot and tired and thought it was time to cool off in the local museum. The Adams Museum is free admission but they do request a donation. It felt wonderful to enjoy some air conditioning and read about all the wild characters of the town like Wild Bill, Calamity Jane, and Potato Creek Johnny.
For a free, little museum, it was actually quite impressive. It told you anything you could possibly want to know about the town's history and it's famous residents.
A narrow gauge railroad was established in 1888 to serve the interests of the mining companies. In 1902 a portion of this railroad was electrified to carry passengers. In 1930 the railroad was abandoned but there is a historic train station still in Deadwood today that now serves as a Visitor Center.
When we were done touring the museum and we were refreshed and renewed, it was time to head over the Historic Adams House for a tour (more on that next week). On the way there we saw a few more historic buildings of interest.
Historic Federal Courthouse 1907
Lawrence County Courthouse
Have A Great Day! Amy
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