When you visit the wildest town in the West, something happens. Your heart races a little faster. Your breath catches. You feel the energy left over from a time long past, but not forgotten. You are in Deadwood, one of South Dakota’s most famous… or infamous… historic towns. Read on to learn of 5 cool places to visit in historic Deadwood!
Gold is Discovered
After the discovery of gold in 1875, pioneers and prospectors alike rushed to the Black Hills. The epicenter of the gold rush, Deadwood was named for a deadfall of trees found in its main gulch. More people poured into the area, bringing with them electricity, telephone service, and most importantly, the railroad. Deadwood turned from a rough mining camp into a bustling city, complete with saloons, shops, and brothels. Some of the most famous historical figures of the Wild West gained their fame in Deadwood: Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, and Poker Alice, just to name a few. If you’re interested in learning more about Deadwood’s history while you’re staying at our Deadwood hotels, Gold Country Inn or Deadwood Station Bunkhouse, here are five places you should go:
Be sure to dedicate a full day of your itinerary to Deadwood’s Historic Main Street. Running nearly the length of Deadwood proper, the cobblestone street is lined on both sides with casinos, restaurants, historic buildings, and specialty shops. If you enjoy a good stroll, you can walk your way to and through all of Main Street’s establishments. However, if you prefer to fast track your Main Street tour, the Deadwood Trolley may be an excellent option.
William Emery Adams was an astute entrepreneur, statesman, and philanthropist. He and his brother James arrived in Deadwood in 1877, where they opened a grocery store. When that store was lost to the 1897 fire, Adams rebuilt and continued growing his business. He was able to provide quite well for his family, and in 1892 built a beautiful Queen-Anne style home that is now known as the Historic Adams House. A great believer in preserving the history of the Black Hills, in 1930 Adams founded the Adams Museum and gifted the property to the city of Deadwood. A few of the Museum’s most treasured items include Potato Creek Johnny’s 7.346 troy ounce gold nugget and an N.C. Wyeth pencil sketch of Wild Bill Hickock. Click here to get your tickets!
Located just south of Deadwood Station Bunkhouse, the Days of ’76 Museum is dedicated to the Days of ’76 celebration. In 1924, Deadwood decided to honor the original founders of the town with a parade and a rodeo. Today, the celebration has grown to include an annual PRCA Rodeo, which is held at the museum’s rodeo grounds. Inside the Days of ’76 Museum, you will find horse-drawn carriages, clothing, stagecoaches, and all other manner of memorabilia associated with the celebration. The fee to get into the museum is under $10, which makes it a very affordable family activity. Check out more information on the Days of ’76 Museum here.
Brothels were a major part of Deadwood for over a hundred years. In fact, several of Deadwood’s brothels operated until as late as 1980, when they were finally shut down. The Brothel Deadwood is made up of eight upstairs rooms right off Historic Main Street, decorated with period-style furniture. Tours are available year-round, and as may be expected, this venue does have an age limit – you must be 16 years old to take a tour. Learn more about The Brothel Deadwood here!