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Deadwood: A Classic South Dakota Treasure

Emerging in popularity due to the HBO show of the same name, Deadwood, South Dakota is a quintessential piece of the Old West.  It is a Natural Historic Landmark District, and has over 1,200 citizens living there today.

Welcome to Deadwood

Named for the dead trees found in its gulch, Deadwood is the county seat of Lawrence County, South Dakota.  Its origins are currently in dispute, as the Lakota Native American tribe is claiming ownership of Deadwood, as this territory was given to him with the Black Hills. The town became known for its outlaw status, as it is the final resting place of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, among others.  Deadwood was the place to do if you were on the wrong side of the law.  The Town of Deadwood was in fact, dead, until General Custer discovered gold nearby.  This led to the Black Hills Gold Rush, increasing the population of Deadwood to over 5,000 citizens. The population was later somewhat eradicated by a smallpox epidemic. 

What Deadwood is Known For

Despite its somewhat shady reputation for lawless characters, the people of Deadwood did carve out a reasonable economy.  How did they do this?  Deadwood is in fact one of the only cities where gambling was used to revitalize its city center.  There are now over 80 historic gambling halls in Deadwood, along with other museums, theatre, and caves that help keep the old 1800’s Deadwood spirit alive.  Formerly only allowed in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, Deadwood became a booming gambling and saloon community.  From a lawless land to a gold rush town in the 1870’s, Deadwood has many hiking trails for residents, lakes, and rock climbing in nearby Spearfish Canyon.  The actor Kevin Costner also owns a casino in Deadwood.  Rebuilt after a dangerous fire in 1987, Deadwood is now a classic symbol of outlaws, as it continues to epitomize the spirit of the Wild West.  Not just a gambling center or tourist attraction, Deadwood is a true survivor among South Dakota towns.

Find out more about Deadwood and its charm at www.deadwood.com.

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