Deadwood, South Dakota
|Deadwood, South Dakota
Modern Deadwood viewed from Mount Moriah
Location in Lawrence County and the state of South Dakota
|• Type||City Commission|
|• Mayor||Chuck Turbiville (elected 2013)|
|• Total||3.83 sq mi (9.92 km2)|
|• Land||3.83 sq mi (9.92 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||4,531 ft (1,381 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||1,263|
|• Density||331.6/sq mi (128.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC-6)|
|GNIS feature ID||1265180|
Deadwood (Lakota: Owáyasuta; "To approve or confirm things") is a city in South Dakota, United States, and the county seat of Lawrence County. It is named for the dead trees found in its gulch. The population was 1,270 according to the 2010 census. The city includes the Deadwood Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District, whose borders may be the city limits.
The illegal settlement of Deadwood began in the 1870s on the territory granted to American Indians in the 1868 Treaty of Laramie. The treaty had guaranteed ownership of the Black Hills to the Lakota people, and disputes over the Hills were ongoing, having reached the United States Supreme Court on several occasions. However, in 1874, Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an expedition into the Hills and announced the discovery of gold on French Creek near present-day Custer, South Dakota. Custer's announcement triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush and gave rise to the lawless town of Deadwood, which quickly reached a population of around 5,000.
In early 1876, frontiersman Charlie Utter and his brother Steve led a wagon train to Deadwood containing what were deemed to be needed commodities to bolster business. The wagon train brought gamblers and prostitutes, resulting in the establishment of profitable ventures. Demand for women was high, and the business of prostitution proved to have a good market. Madam Dora DuFran would eventually become the most profitable brothel owner in Deadwood, closely followed by Madam Mollie Johnson. Businessman Tom Miller opened the Bella Union Saloon in September of that year.
Another saloon was the Gem Variety Theater, opened April 7, 1877 by Al Swearengen who also controlled the opium trade in the town. The saloon was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in 1879. It burned down again in 1899, causing Swearengen to leave the town.
The town attained notoriety for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, and Mount Moriah Cemetery remains the final resting place of Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as slightly less notable figures such as Seth Bullock. Deadwood became known for its wild and almost lawless reputation, during which time murder was common, and punishment for murders not always fair and impartial. Hickok's murderer, Jack McCall, was prosecuted twice, despite the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against double jeopardy, because of a ruling that Deadwood was an illegal town in Indian Territory and thus lacked the jurisdiction to prosecute or acquit McCall. This decision moved McCall's trial to a Dakota Territory court ("Indian Court"), where he was found guilty of murder and hanged.
As the economy changed from gold rush to steady mining, Deadwood lost its rough and rowdy character and settled down into a prosperous town. In 1876, a smallpox epidemic swept through the camp with so many falling ill that tents were erected to quarantine the stricken. On December 13, 1959, the ABC/Warner Brothers western television series Colt .45 aired the episode "Calamity", a dramatization of the event. Dody Heath was cast as Calamity Jane and Joan Taylor as a woman doctor, Ellen McGraw. In the story line, series character Christopher Colt, played by Wayde Preston, hires Calamity Jane to drive the stagecoach containing Dr. McGraw and the vaccine needed to fight the epidemic. Colt is at first unsure if Calamity can handle the job because miners and Indians seek to steal the valuable medication.
In 1876, General George Crook pursued the Sioux Indians from the Battle of Little Big Horn on an expedition that ended in Deadwood and is known as the Horsemeat March. The Homestake Mine in nearby Lead was established in 1877. For years, it was the longest continuously operating gold mine in the United States. Gold mining operations ceased in 2002, but the mine continues to be open to tourists.
On September 26, 1879, a fire devastated Deadwood, destroying more than three hundred buildings, and consuming the belongings of many inhabitants. Many of the newly impoverished left town to start again elsewhere without the opportunities of rich untapped veins of ore that characterized the early days of Deadwood.
A narrow-gauge railroad, the Deadwood Central Railroad, was founded by Deadwood resident J.K.P. Miller and his associates in 1888, in order to serve their mining interests in the Black Hills. The railroad was purchased by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1893. A portion of the railroad between Deadwood and Lead was electrified in 1902 for operation as an interurban passenger system, which operated until 1924. The railroad was abandoned in 1930, apart from a portion from Kirk to Fantail Junction, which was converted to standard gauge. The remaining section was abandoned by the successor Burlington Northern Railroad in 1984.
Some of the other early town residents and frequent visitors included Al Swearengen, E. B. Farnum, Charlie Utter, Sol Star, Martha Bullock, A. W. Merrick, Samuel Fields, Calamity Jane, Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, the Reverend Henry Weston Smith, and Wild Bill Hickok.
20th and 21st centuries
Another major fire in September 1959 came close to destroying the town. About 4,500 acres were burned and an evacuation order was issued. Nearly 3,600 volunteer and professional firefighters, including personnel from the Homestake Mine and Ellsworth Air Force Base, worked to contain the fire, which resulted in a major regional economic downturn.
The entire town was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961. However, the town underwent additional decline and financial stresses during the next two decades. Interstate 90 bypassed it in 1964 and its brothels were shut down after a 1980 raid. A fire in December 1987 destroyed the historic Syndicate Building and a neighboring structure. The fire spurred the "Deadwood Experiment", in which gambling was tested as a means of revitalizing a city center. At the time, gambling was legal only in the state of Nevada and in Atlantic City. Deadwood was the first small community in the U.S. to seek legal gambling revenues as a way of maintaining local historic qualities. Gambling was legalized in Deadwood in 1989 and immediately brought significant new revenues and development. The pressure of development may have an effect on the historical integrity of the landmark district.
The gold rush attracted Chinese immigrants to the area. Their population peaked at 250. A few engaged in mining; most worked in service enterprises. A quarter arose on Main Street, encouraged by the lack of restrictions on foreign property ownership in Dakota Territory and a relatively high level of tolerance. Wong Fee Lee arrived in Deadwood in 1876 and became a leading merchant. He was a community leader among the Chinese Americans until his death in 1921.
Deadwood is located at .
In the summer, there are numerous trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horse back riding. The northern end of the George S. Mickelson Trail starts in Deadwood and runs south through the Black Hills to Edgemont. Several man made lakes, including Sheridan Lake, provide fishing and swimming. Spearfish Canyon to the north has many places to rock climb. In early June the Mickelson Trail Marathon and 5K, as well as accompanying races for children, are held.
"The Midnight Star" casino in Deadwood is owned by American film actor Kevin Costner. International versions of many of his films' posters line its walls.
Deadwood's climate varies considerably from the rest of the state and surrounding areas. While most of the state receives less than 15 inches of precipitation per year, annual precipitation amounts in the Lead-Deadwood area reach nearly 30 inches. Most of these 30 inches fall in the winter as snow, although snow can occur as early as September and last until late May. Spring is brief and is characterized by large wet snow storms and periods of rain.
|Climate data for Deadwood, South Dakota|
|Record high °F (°C)||65
|Average high °F (°C)||33
|Average low °F (°C)||11
|Record low °F (°C)||−28
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.30
|Source #1: South Dakota State University|
|Source #2: NOAA|
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,380 people, 669 households, and 341 families residing in the city. The population density was 365.4 people per square mile (141.0/km²). There were 817 housing units at an average density of 216.3 per square mile (83.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.87% White, 1.88% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.65% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.75% of the population. 29.8% were of German, 9.6% Irish, 9.5% English, 9.5% Norwegian and 8.7% American ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 669 households out of which 20.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.7% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.9% were non-families. 40.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.01 and the average family size was 2.71.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.3% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $28,641, and the median income for a family was $37,132. Males had a median income of $28,920 versus $18,807 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,673. About 6.9% of families and 10.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,270 people, 661 households, and 302 families residing in the city. The population density was 331.6 inhabitants per square mile (128.0 /km2). There were 803 housing units at an average density of 209.7 per square mile (81.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.9% White, 0.2% African American, 1.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.
There were 661 households of which 17.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 54.3% were non-families. 44.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.88 and the average family size was 2.60.
The median age in the city was 48 years. 15% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.3% were from 25 to 44; 37.9% were from 45 to 64; and 17.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 52.5% male and 47.5% female.
Deadwood in fiction
- Deadwood Dick is a fictional character who appears in a series of stories published between 1877 and 1897 by Edward Lytton Wheeler (1854/5–1885). Several men associated with the city used this nickname at various times of their lives.
- The Adam 12 1969 episode, "The Long Walk" features an old man who reminisces about his early life in Deadwood.
- In Flashman and the Redskins, a 1982 novel by George MacDonald Fraser, the eponymous hero, an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok, ends his adventure in Deadwood in 1876, shortly before Hickok's death.
- Deadwood's history and inhabitants are the foundation of Pete Dexter's 1986 novel, Deadwood, in which Charles Utter, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane are the central characters.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation 1992 episode "A Fistful of Datas", a holodeck program takes place in 19th-century Deadwood.
- The three Tales from Deadwood novels (2005–07) by Mike Jameson are set in Deadwood and feature Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Al Swearengen, and other historical figures.
- Showed as a haunted town in American Sci/Fi, Horror TV series Supernatural in the 2nd Season's 21st & 22nd Episode named as "All Hell Breaks Loose (Part 1)" and "All Hell Breaks Loose (Part 2)"
- The Doctor Who comic book story "Dead Man's Hand", published by IDW, takes place in Deadwood several years after the burial of "Wild Bill" Hickock.
- Granville G. Bennett, (1833-1910), lawyer and politician
- Jerry Bryant, historian
- Calamity Jane (Martha Jane Canary), (1852-1903), frontierswoman
- Philip S. Van Cise, (1884–1969), Colorado district attorney
- William H. Clagett, (1838-1901), lawyer and politician
- Charles Badger Clark, (1883-1957), poet
- Richard Clarke, (1845-1930), frontiersman
- Rowland Crawford, (1902-1973), architect
- Gary Mule Deer, (b. 1940), comedian and country musician
- Charles Henry Dietrich, (1853-1924), 11th Governor of Nebraska
- Dora DuFran, (1868-1934), brothel owner in Deadwood
- Wyatt Earp, (1848–1929), American investor and law enforcement officer who lived in Deadwood from 1876–77
- E. B. Farnum, (1826-1878), pioneer
- Samuel Fields, supposed Civil War figure and prospector
- Arthur De Wint Foote, (1849-1933), engineer
- Mary Hallock Foote, (1847-1938), author and illustrator
- Wild Bill Hickok, (1837–1876), gambler and gunslinger
- Amy Hill (b. 1953), Japanese-Finnish-American actress
- Carole Hillard, (1936–2007), Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota 1995–2003
- Mollie Johnson, (d. after 1883), madam in Deadwood
- Freeman Knowles, (1846-1910), politician
- Seth Bullock, (1849-1919), Sheriff, Hardware Store Owner
- Joseph Ladue (1855-1901), prospector, businessman, and founder of Dawson City, Yukon
- Ward Lambert, (1888–1958), college basketball coach, mostly with Purdue University
- Jack Langrishe, (died 1895), actor
- Kitty Leroy, (1850-1878), gambler, trick shooter, and frontierswoman
- H. R. Locke, (1856-1927), photographer
- Madame Moustache, (1834–1879), gambler
- William H. Parker (1905–1966), former Chief of Police of Los Angeles, California
- Dorothy Provine (1937–2010), actress and dancer
- Angelo Rizzuto (1906–67), photographer
- Bill Russell, (b. 1949), lyricist
- Bob Schloredt (b. 1939), former college football player for the Washington Huskies
- Jim Scott, (1888–1957), played with the Chicago White Sox
- Henry Weston Smith, (1827-1876), early frontiersman and preacher
- William Randolph Steele, (1842-1901), former resident, mayor of Deadwood, lawyer, soldier, and politician
- Al Swearengen, (1845-1904), entertainment entrepreneur
- Charlie Utter, (c. 1838-aft. 1912), frontiersman
- Alfred L. Werker, (1896-1975), film director
- Cris Williamson (b. 1947), singer/musician
- "Mayor of the city of Deadwood". Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Ullrich, Jan F. (2014). New Lakota Dictionary (2nd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Lakota Language Consortium. ISBN 978-0-9761082-9-0.
- Deadwood Chamber of Commerce
- "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- Hilton, George W. (1990). American Narrow Gauge Railroads. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2369-9.
- "Historic Wildfire in the Black Hills – Deadwood 1959". National Fire Protection Association. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
- "Deadwood gambling spurred change, but the town's evolution continues". Rapid City Journal. November 1, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
- Perret, Geoffrey. ""The Town That Took a Chance" American Heritage, April/May 2005.
- "Deadwood, South Dakota – Gambling, Historic Preservation, and Economic Revitalization". USDA. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
- "National Historic Landmarks Program: Deadwood Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
- "Chinese". City of Deadwood. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Edith C. Wong et al., "Deadwood's Pioneer Merchant," South Dakota History (2009) 39#4 pp 283-335
- David J. Wishart (2004). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 140, 141. ISBN 978-0-8032-4787-1.
- "Where East Met (Wild) West". Smithsonian (magazine). Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Precipitation Normals 1971–2000". April 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- "Climatography of the U.S. Deadwood 1971–2000". April 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- Granger, Edward Packard ; illustrated by Paul (1978). Deadwood City. Toronto: Bantam. ISBN 0-553-13994-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Deadwood, South Dakota.|
- Deadwood Chamber of Commerce
- Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission
- Deadwood Digital Media Archive (creative commons-licensed photos, laser scans, panoramas), data from a DHPC/CyArk partnership
- Adams House and Museum
- Enjoy Deadwood South Dakota