If you haven’t figured it by now, I’m a sucker for towns of the Old West. Following shortly on the heels of our trip to Tombstone, we went to Deadwood, South Dakota. Deadwood is one of my favorite places because of the quaint, but somehow bustling Wild West feel. There are slot machines and gambling tables in almost every building, but the rest of it is simply spectacular.
Strolling down old Main Street affords you a look at lovely architecture, plenty of restaurants, and lots of souvenirs. There’s also plenty of history you won’t want to miss.
Adam’s Museum and House
I didn’t stop outside for long enough to snap any pictures, because the rain was really coming down, and we were cold, so a picture of Wild Bill (with Calamity Jane in the background) will have to do.
The town of Deadwood was founded in 1876, and in 1930, a businessman named W.E. Adams donated this museum to the town to preserve its history as well as pay homage to the Black Hills and their towering Ponderosa Pines.
The museum remains free with a suggested charitable donation, and it’s a fun place to walk through on a rainy afternoon, like the day we visited. Just down the road from the Adam’s Museum is the Adam’s House.
The house was built in 1892, and it has a gorgeous Queen Anne-style exterior with stained glass windows, modern plumbing, electricity, telephone service, and all of its original furnishings. Unfortunately, W.E. Adams died in 1930 and the house sat vacant for 50 years.
His wife left everything just the way it was, with books in the library, sheet music on the piano, patent medicines in the bathroom, and China in the kitchen. The Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission purchased the house in 1992 and restored it as a museum in 2000.
Mount Moriah Cemetery
If you’re into Western legends, lawmen, miners, muleskinners, gamblers, gunslingers, and the women on their arms, you’ll likely want to head just up the hillside from the Adams’ House to the Mount Moriah Cemetery, where you’ll see the graves of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Potato Creek Johnny, just to name a few.
Mount Moriah Cemetery is the resting place of many a Deadwood Gulch purveying denizen. Plus, you won’t want to miss the towering trees, the gorgeous stroll through a very well-maintained yard, and a fantastic overlook of the entire Deadwood Gulch.
Next to the scenic overlook is a flagpole, with an American flag that was waving majestically in the wind during our visit. During World War I, Deadwood was given permission by the U.S. Congress to fly the flag over the Mount Moriah Cemetery 24 hours a day.
Just a short drive west on I-90, you’ll hit the town of Spearfish, South Dakota. Drive south out of Spearfish into Spearfish Canyon, and you won’t believe the grandeur you’re privy to. Even on our drizzly day, it was one of the most spectacular drives I’d ever done.
It’s full of hairpin turns, a flowing river, waterfalls, towering pines, and rock faces. There are a few lodges and resorts tucked back behind the river and plenty of locals who live there full time.
After Spearfish, we headed west still, to see Devils Tower. That’s a story for another day, because there’s just too much to tell!