Deadwood Travel Guide

Browse 3 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 62 travel photos from real travelers to Deadwood.

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Deadwood Overview

Deadwood was founded in 1876 at the height of the Black Hills gold rush. Within months, as many as 10,000 miners, muleskinners and madams had descended into Deadwood Gulch. The city attained instant infamy when Wild Bill Hickok, a lawman, gunslinger and frequent subject of dime novels, was murdered by drifter Jack McCall in the Saloon #10 on August 2, 1876. Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock and Preacher Henry W. Smith were among the town's other notable residents. Other figures of the American West, including Buffalo Bill Cody and Theodore Roosevelt, were regular guests in the city at the turn of the 20th century.

When nearly all of Deadwood's ramshackle frontier buildings burned to the ground in 1879, the city's residents - who had begun to specialize in commerce rather than in prospecting - rebuilt in brick and stone. Most of these Victorian buildings remain, lined along narrow brick-paved streets, giving Deadwood an oddly European feel.

In 1989, Deadwood became the third place in the United States to legalize gaming (after Nevada and Atlantic City). The poker tables and slot machines help fund the city's ongoing historic preservation, which has been labeled one of the most successful in the country. Today, Deadwood's Main Street is lined mostly with small, intimate hotels and casinos. There are a few boutiques specializing in Black Hills Gold and South Dakota products, but Deadwood's historic sites and its outdoor recreation are the city's biggest draws.

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