The Story of Deadwood, South Dakota.
The settlement of Deadwood began in the 1870s and has been described as illegal, since it lay within the territory granted to Native Americans in the 1868 Treaty of Laramie. The treaty had guaranteed ownership of the Black Hills to the Lakota people. In 1874, Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an expedition into the Hills and announced the discovery of gold. Custers announcement triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush and gave rise to the lawless town of Deadwood, which quickly reached a population of
The town attained notoriety for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, and Mount Moriah Cemetery remains the final resting place of Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as slightly less notable figures such as Seth Bullock. It became known for its wild and almost lawless reputation, during which time murder was common and punishment for murders not always fair and impartial.
As the economy changed from gold rush to steady mining, Deadwood lost its rough and rowdy character and settled down into a prosperous town. In 1876, General George Crook pursued the Sioux Indians from the Battle of Little Big Horn on an expedition that ended in Deadwood.
In recent times, Deadwood was the first small community in the U.S. to seek legal gambling revenues as a way of maintaining local historic qualities. Gambling was legalized in Deadwood in 1989 and immediately brought significant new revenues and development.
We started the Deadwood Saloon here in Atlanta to commemorate this little piece of Americana and its rich – and sometimes rugged – history.