After the gold rush’s rise and fall, South Dakota had its fair share of ghost towns. Most have completely disappeared, some still linger in the form of only ruins, but there are a few that have a bit of a different story.
This lake is known as Sheridan Lake, but at one point in time, it was not here.
The lake was created by a nearby dam on Spring Creek through construction from the 1930s to 1942. The name of the lake actually comes from the name of the town that it now covers, Sheridan.
This underwater city was once known as the "Golden City" for its popularity during the gold rush.
Sheridan looked much like the town above. It sprang up quickly in 1875 as soon as word got out that there was gold, and filled with everyone from desperate miners to hopeful prospectors, all with the goal of striking gold here. And for a while, they did. The town became very prosperous. It had multiple stores, saloons, schools, churches, and more, and thrived. It was even named county seat of Pennington County. This, of course, was changed to Rapid City just one year later.
The prosperity of the town, like many in the area, would not last. As the gold seemed to run dry, the residents began to leave. Most headed north to places like Deadwood in hopes of another chance at a fortune. They left Sheridan behind, and it became a ghost mining town like so many others. By 1920, only 10 people lived there. The once busy mines were failing. Not long after that, it was completely empty.
Today, it is some 30 feet underwater.
Only one of the original buildings of Sheridan still exists. It was moved six miles south just before the lake was created by the dam, and still stands today. The rest of it is all history, and now Sheridan Lake is popular for recreation. Tons of people boat and swim in the lake and have no idea the town is even down there.
South Dakota’s gold rush days certainly brought on a lot of history for the state. Had you ever heard of this town before?