We had a fun day visiting the cool western town of Deadwood. The discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 set off one of the last great gold rushes in the country. In 1876, miners moved into the northern Black Hills. That’s where they came across a gulch full of dead trees and a creek full of gold…and Deadwood was born.
Practically overnight, the tiny gold camp boomed into a town that played by its own rules that attracted outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. Wild Bill Hickok was one of those men who came looking for fortune. But just a few short weeks after arriving, he was gunned down while holding a poker hand of aces and eights – forever after known as the Dead Man’s Hand. Jerry stood under the marker in town showing where he was shot.
Calamity Jane also made a name for herself in these parts and is buried next to Hickok in Mount Moriah Cemetery. We are planning a visit to the cemetery next time we visit Deadwood. Other legends, like Potato Creek Johnny, Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen, created their legends and legacies in this tiny Black Hills town.
Deadwood has survived three major fires and numerous economic hardships, pushing it to the verge of becoming another Old West ghost town. But in 1989 limited-wage gambling was legalized and Deadwood was reborn. The town is much more than just gambling though, it is filled with great shops and lots of entertainment. Jerry and I stopped for lunch at the Stockade for great chicken and ended up staying for hours listening to Yancey, the musician. They had some cool seats there too, Jerry definitely made a horses butt our of himself....see photos. :-)
We had a great time and will be returning many times while staying in Rapid City, we are planning on taking the trolley tour next time, check back later for more from our explorations in South Dakota.