Scenic USA - South Dakota

Deadwood Historic District

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Historic District - Deadwood, South Dakota

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     The boomtown of Deadwood is better known for its colorful Main Street - Deadwood, South Dakota characters rather than the Black Hills Gold Rush. Reaching a peak in 1877, gold and greed spawned a lawless cluster of saloons, card parlors, dance halls and bordellos. Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are two of the well known frontier legends that called Deadwood Gulch their home. Calamity Jane, born (Martha Jane Canary), lived by the creed to never go to bed sober, alone, and with one red cent in your pocket. James Butler Hickok, full time gambler, spent less than a month in Deadwood. Shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall during a poker game, 39 year old Wild Bill is said to have been holding pairs of aces and eights.
     Today's Old Style Saloon #10, the only museum with a bar, puts on a live reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok every day. Mini bus tours or walking tours introduce visitors to Main Street - Deadwood, South Dakota Main Street, a five block area surrounding the historic district. The 1880s buildings, brick paving, vintage streetlights were preserved with tourist's dollars when Deadwood legalized gambling in 1989. Today the entire town is a National Historic District based on Deadwood's glory years.
     The Broken Boot Mine was re-opened in 1954, offering a look at 100 year old tunnels to the curious. High above Deadwood, on Mt. Mariah, is another historic landmark, Boot Hill Cemetery. Here curious visitors will find the graves of Calamity Jane and James Hickok. A handful of local legends round out cemetery headstones, including Preacher Smith and Madame Du Fran. Here on Mt Mariah, a panoramic viewpoint looks out over Deadwood and South Dakota's Black Hills.

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