Deadwood is by no means dull
Deadwood, South Dakota, is actually kind of a lively place.
Those visiting the town can drop in at Saloon No. 10, the site where Wild Bill Hickock — a legendary name in Western American history — was fatally shot while playing cards, reports Andy Mosher of Deadwood Alive, which among other things re-enacts 19th-century shootouts on Deadwood streets during summer, recalling it’s freewheeling past.
Hickock is buried in a local cemetery, while the watering hole where he was shot has many artifacts telling of its lengthy history. Mosher — who labels himself a city marshal and sports a marshal’s badge while promoting Deadwood to tourists — told a recent Travel South Dakota webinar that his community — which dates back to 1876 and was founded after gold was discovered in the area — has 4 museums, including one devoted to the brothels that were tolerated in the town from the latter 19th century well into the 20th century. But Mosher added the brothel museum doesn’t champion prostitution.
“They don’t condone it and they don’t condemn it,” he said, adding the museum allows visitors to form their own opinions on the vice.
Mosher said Main Street has “anything you would want on your vacation,” including boutiques, restaurants and an abundance of saloons. Kyler Flock of Travel South Dakota said Deadwood can actually provide a family friendly vacation, and added that “during winter Deadwood does not slow down.”
Meanwhile, Ann Lesch said South Dakota history can also be viewed in smallish De Smet, home to the Laura Ingalls Homestead, which provides insights into those who homesteaded in the region long ago. Ingalls because a published author, with her books eventually inspiring the show Little House on the Prairie.
Lesch said summertime visitors can go on covered wagon rides around the large grounds, which have seen native Prairies grasses replanted. She said those on hand to welcome visitors will familiarize visitors with the homesteading lifestyle. “We talk about how people lived with less… They were very resourceful,” she said.
Lesch also said she and her colleagues will also tell visitors about the impact the homesteading movement had on native Americans, the area’s first inhabitants, adding they don’t gloss that over. Flock added those interested in native American culture can visit Chamberlain’s Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, which deals with both the past and present.
Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Custer State Park, which serves as a sanctuary for bison, which Flock said may be the “iconic” American animal. The park is home to other animals, such as pronghorn antelope.