You may have heard of Deadwood, South Dakota, from the HBO series. The entire town (pop.: 1380) is a National Historic Landmark and it’s filled with beautiful old architecture.
Deadwood started out as a mining town after a miner named John B. Pearson found gold in a narrow canyon in the Black Hills in 1875. The canyon became known as “Deadwood Gulch,” because of all the dead trees in the canyon.
General George A. Custer led a government-sponsored expedition to confirm the presence of gold in the Black Hills. The U.S. government tried to hide the discovery from the general public in order to honor the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which forever ceded the Black Hills to the Lakota-Sioux Indians. But miners entered the area illegally and the 1876 Gold Rush was on.
In 1890, the railroad brought people to the area from various areas. Chinese immigrants were among those building the railroad. Hundreds of Chinese came to the Black Hills and worked on the railroad or in the mines. By the end of the 1880s, Deadwood had a Chinatown, which was at the northern end of present-day Main Street.
In Deadwood, the Wild West theme is everywhere.
In 1988, a gaming issue initiative was put on the state ballot and passed. Kevin Costner, who directed and starred in Dances With Wolves (filmed in the Black Hills and Wyoming) owns a casino, the Midnight Star. . . .
You can see memorabilia from Costner’s movies throughout the casino and restaurant.
Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall in Deadwood’s Saloon No. 10 while playing poker. This is re-enacted every day during tourist season.
Hickok is buried in Mt. Moriah Cemetery, just outside of town.
Calamity Jane, another colorful character from that era, is buried next to Hickok, at her request. There were rumors of a romance between the two, but they were never substantiated.
Doris Day starred in the movie Calamity Jane, but I’m not sure about the resemblance.
Moving on. Leaving Deadwood, we saw a beautiful sunset. The sun lit up clouds in the East so they looked like pink cotton candy. Montana is called “Big Sky Country,” but I think South Dakota qualifies too.
I underestimated how many photos were left, so I’m breaking the last South Dakota post into two parts. Part II on Monday.
Great weekend, everyone!