The Bullock Hotel as it looked in 2006.
|Location||Deadwood, South Dakota|
|Renovated||1991 - 1997|
The historic Bullock Hotel is located at the corner of Wall and Main Street in Deadwood, South Dakota. It was built by Seth Bullock, an early sheriff of Deadwood, and his business partner Sol Star, in around 1895 at a cost of $40,000 and is the oldest hotel in Deadwood, boasting a casino, restaurant, and 28 of its original 63 rooms.
The Bullock Hotel was built by Seth Bullock between 1894 and 1896 from a converted warehouse to a 3-story hotel shortly after the Deadwood fire of 1894, which destroyed the original 2-story wood-frame building and devastated much of the town of Deadwood. It is believed that the hotel was originally constructed and decorated in an "Italianate" and Victorian style with the first floor of the hotel boasting a large dining room in the rear, a kitchen and pantry, a sample room where salesmen could store their cases, a grand hotel lobby, and offices in the front.
The so-called "Branch House" was built in the early 20th century, and was renovated in 1996. The branch house is an adjacent building next to the hotel which contains seven of the most critically acclaimed suites in South Dakota.
The second and third stories are said to have held 63 luxury sleeping rooms with baths down the halls and two large banks of skylights for lighting the inner rooms with natural light. It is also believed that all rooms were furnished with iron and brass beds and oak furnishings.
Resale and renovation
The Hotel was sold to the Aryes family who in 1976 converted the building to a hardware store up until around 1991 when the building underwent subsequent renovation by the new owners, Bullock Properties, to convert it back into a hotel. The original furnishings had been sold at auction by the Aryes family in 1976, so in 1991-1993 the hotel underwent extensive renovation to re-create the original atmosphere and decor. The current owners state that the hotel has been "carefully restored based on the best available information regarding the late 1800s and by uncovering details that gave clues as to the original decor." Some changes included lowering some ceilings (due to heat accumulation at the ceilings), paint stripping and re-staining of most woodwork, and a re-papering and decorating of ceilings which was thought to reflect the hotel's original Victorian designs. 48-inch solid brass chandeliers were also introduced as light fixtures, chosen from replicas of the period. The kitchen and pantry were further converted into a restaurant and bar, Bully's, named for Seth Bullock's lifelong friend, Teddy Roosevelt.
All in all, even with reported attempts to retain original floor plans as much as possible, the former 63 rooms were reduced to 28 in the restoration. This supposedly resulted in some rather unique rooms with odd shapes and angles and a larger version of the original rooms from 1895. Modern plumbing and renovation brought the baths in from the hallway, and all rooms are equipped with private baths. Some luxury rooms are reported to have Jacuzzis and wet bars as well.
It is said that the original owner of the Hotel, Seth Bullock, died on the premises of the Hotel on September 23, 1919 in room 211. (Mr Bullock died of colon cancer on September 23, 1919, at his home at 28 Van Buren Street in Deadwood.) It is possible that his demise at the Hotel propagated reports of Mr. Bullock's "ghost" being sighted at the hotel, which continue to this day by guests, workers, and tourists. Many people who have supposedly had contact with Bullock's ghost say that they were never harmed, but merely touched or called out for. Apparitions are often seen by guests and orbs as well. Employees say the ghost merely continues to "play host" and often makes sure "his" employees are working hard, because many employees have said when they were taking breaks, they felt paranormal presence, and got back to work immediately. Ghost tours of the hotel are held regularly, and many thrill-seekers, ghost hunting groups and non-believers have spent the night. In 2015, the hotel was featured on a special Halloween episode of Ghost Adventures.
- Bullock Hotel
- Seth Bullock Biography, Black Hills Visitor magazine
- Seth Bullock - Finest Type of Frontiersman, Legends of America (travel site)
- Photo of Seth and Roosevelt: http://yesteryearsnews.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/seth_and_teddy.jpg?w=360&h=449
- Parker, Watson (1981). Deadwood: The Golden Years. U of Nebraska Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-8032-8702-X. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- Pechan, Bev; Groethe, Bill (2005). Deadwood: 1876-1976. Arcadia Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 0-7385-3979-1. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- Belanger, Jeff (2005). Encyclopedia of Haunted Places: Ghostly Locales from Around the World. Career Press. p. 150. ISBN 1-56414-799-1. Retrieved 2008-07-04.