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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Swinging through Sturgis and Deadwood, May 2011

During our stay in Custer in 2011 we made time to swing through Sturgis and Deadwood for quick visits.  Deadwood wasn't what I thought it would be.  I was all geeked out because I was a fan of the show on HBO , and not just because Timothy Olyphant is so gorgeous.  They did a good job of making the time period come alive, and recently when I was checking out some maps I saw the name of the town of Yankton and added it to my list of places to go thanks to the TV show.  But I digress!  Hopefully Yankton will have more to offer, because Deadwood is pretty much only interesting if you plan to gamble or buy souvenir t-shirts.  Of course, historically speaking, Deadwood was a place to gamble away your riches, so perhaps it's appropriate.

We did visit Mount Moriah Cemetery though, and Wayne and I took the walking route from downtown in order to get a little exercise while my parents took the Boothill Tours bus.  It didn't take long for us to run into them when we got to the top, but they were relaxed and cool while we had shaking legs and were gulping water and sweating!

Deadwood was established in 1876 during the Black Hills gold rush. The U.S. government tried to conceal the discovery of gold from the general public in order to honor the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which forever ceded the Black Hills to the Lakota-Sioux. The government also dispatched several military units to forts in the surrounding area to keep people from entering the Hills. However, despite the efforts of the military and federal government, the American populace learned about the discovery of gold in the Black Hills Once Deadwood was established, the mining camp was soon swarming with thousands of prospectors searching for an easy way to get rich. By 1879 Deadwood was thriving but was almost decimated by fire.  They rebuilt and in 1890 Deadwood was connected to the outside world by the railroad and gradually grew from a wild frontier town to a prosperous commercial center.

Deadwood had its share of celebrities, including Wild Bill Hickok who was shot in the back of the head by Jack McCall while playing poker at the No. 10 Saloon on August 2, 1876.  We checked out his gravesite while walking around Mount Moriah, but soon after gave up on grave spotting and headed back downhill.  We did enjoy our lunch at the Deadwood Social Club above the #10 Saloon and maybe I'd go back again another time to catch a re-enactment which they do in the evening...but I'm not one for crowds so probably not. However, I might be tempted to visit again just to get some truffles from the Chubby Chipmunk...
 We also stopped in Sturgis to check out the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum.  Wayne got more out of this visit than I did, but I always enjoy anything old and imagining what the time and the people were like who used them.

 I've recently started watching "American Pickers", those guys love this kind of stuff!  Me, I was thankful photography was allowed and enjoyed reading about the different bikes.  Very well done museum if even a gal who refuses to get on a motorcycle enjoyed it!


  1. I never gave Sturgis a first thought while in South Dakota but WOW! to see those old motorcycles, I might have to reconsider next time I am in the neighborhood.

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  3. Wonderful post! I envy the experiences you've both had and will have.