Do you love the stories of South Dakota’s early history, when the West was wild and the early settlers were struggling to make their homesteads on the prairie? Here are nine places you can visit that will take you right back in time to the old South Dakota.
1. 1880 Train, Keystone and Hill City
The 1880 Train makes its way through some of South Dakota’s most stunning scenery between Keystone and Hill City. Hop aboard the vintage steam train for a two-hour, 20-mile journey that’s narrated during the trip to give you some great insight about what train travel was like back before the 20th century.
2. Ingalls Homestead, DeSmet
In 1879, Charles and Caroline Ingalls made their way from Wisconsin to DeSmet, South Dakota, where they would raise their daughters. Decades later, Laura Ingalls Wilder would write about her incredible life on the prairie in her Little House books. See what it was like to be a pioneer on the prairie in the late 1800s. 20812 Homestead Road, De Smet.
3. Bullock Hotel, Deadwood
The town’s first sheriff responsible for bringing law and order to Deadwood, Seth Bullock was a town icon. He built the town’s first hotel - a three-story luxury building complete with indoor bathrooms in 1896. The historic hotel is said to be haunted by Bullock’s ghost who keeps an eye on the place and makes sure his guests are provided with the best possible service. 633 Main Street, Deadwood
4. South Dakota’s Original 1880 Town, Midland
What was it like to live in South Dakota in the late 1800s? Find out at South Dakota’s Original 1880 town in Murdo. Check out the museum and town buildings that are full of antiques and memorabilia from South Dakota settlers. 24280 SD Hwy 63, Midland
5. The Gordon Stockade, Custer
In the winter of 1974-75, a group of gold prospectors headed to the Black Hills to find their fortunes. The Gordon party built a stockade to protect themselves from Lakota raids, though the land belong to the Plains Indians. A short five months later, US Cavalry evicted them, but word had spread and soon the hills were occupied by more than 10,000 prospectors. Today, you can visit a replica built on the same site. 25073 US-16A, Custer.
6. Fort Hays Old West Town and Dinner Show, Rapid City
Start with a cowboy breakfast, then check out the Fort Hays Old West Town, where the movie "Dances with Wolves" was filmed. See the workshops where craftsmen moke tools, bricks, rope and more from 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM. In the evening, enjoy the Chuckwagon Supper and Show. 2255 Fort Hayes Road, Rapid City
7. Prairie Homestead Historic Site, Philip
In the early days of homesteading, people staked out their land, built a sod house or shanty, and tried to make a life on the prairie. Edgar Brown and his wife Alice built their little homestead here in 1909. It's still intact today, and is a unique, interesting place to tour. Check out the antique furnishings, feed the goats, and try to imagine what it would have been like to build a life here on the prairie. 21070 SD Highway 240, Philip.
8. Four Mile Old West Town, Custer
Step right back in time at this little Old West Town, which includes 50 different buildings that you can tour. Browse through the bank, the General Store, a saloon and check out the talking outhouse. 11921 US 16, Custer
9. Saloon No. 10, Deadwood
On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon when he was shot and killed by Jack McCall. While the original saloon no longer exists, Saloon No. 10 is a bar and museum that pays homage to Wild Bill. This little treasure is full of photos, memorabilia, and even the chair Bill was sitting in when he died. During the summer, watch live, staged shoot-outs in the street outside the bar. 657 Main Street, Deadwood.
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