Deadwood - A National Landmark

Deadwood Overview

With each footstep on its brick-paved streets, across the tombstones of Western legends long dead and through its thick forests of dark ponderosa, Deadwood Gulch echoes with sounds of days past - the sounds of history.

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, the entire community of Deadwood is alive and vibrant with historic character over 125 years in the making. Since its founding in 1876, Deadwood has been synonymous with the Wild West. From its early days as a lawless gold camp to its transformation into a model Victorian community and a modern center for commerce and entertainment, the town has always had a legendary reputation unparalleled in the American West. Deadwood's birth was sudden. Thousands of faceless miners, muleskinners, lawmen, gunslingers and gamblers descended upon this narrow and rocky canyon in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory in 1876. They prospected, opened shops, built houses, drank, bet it all, lost fortunes and gained riches beyond their wildest dreams. It was America's last great gold rush. Legends were made almost overnight with a lucky shovelful of earth or turn of a card, but they were just as easily lost with a well-placed bullet. Wild Bill Hickok, frontier gunfighter, came to Deadwood with the other '76ers to seek his fortune. Thanks to a pistol shot to the back of his head, he never left. He sleeps on a hill overlooking the gulch to this day, next to the graves of Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, Potato Creek Johnny, Preacher Smith and hundreds of Deadwood's other legendary denizens. If you are looking for write my paper for me services on the topic of Deadwood foundation, then academic writers at can help you out. Their team is extremely credible when it comes to writing custom essays or any other type of paper on demand.

But as the legends passed on, so did the gold. The ancient mansions, grand stone balconies and elegant brick façades began to decay. Deadwood seemed destined to turn into a ghost town, fading slowly into history like so many of its famous residents had done long ago...But it was not to be. In 1989, Deadwood became the third place in the United States (after Atlantic City and Nevada) to legalize gambling. Once again the brick-paved streets of Deadwood heard the thunder of pistol shots, the songs of slot machines and the click of chips against card tables. Once again people rushed to the sweet ponderosa-touched alpine air of Deadwood Gulch to seek their fortunes. And once again the beautiful Victorian buildings of Main Street, restored to their former glory, were filled with an air of elegance and grace. This period is one of the most interesting ones in the history of the city, so if you are a student willing to write an essay about it, then we recommend you to use Academized, a top notch "write a paper for me" website available online. Their team of professional essay writers is constantly developing their writing skills to cover more and more subjects required by the students.

Growth and change since 1989 has been regulated and limited by Deadwood's Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission and City Commission. The town developed a Comprehensive Plan in 1993 to deal with the impacts of gaming and revised it extensively in 2001. For its part, the Historic Preservation Commission adopted standardized Design Guidelines for the Downtown Commercial District, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Rehabilitation and a comprehensive sign ordinance.

Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission

The City of Deadwood is designated as a National Historic Landmark and is listed on both the National and South Dakota Registers of Historic Places. Due to these conditions and the community’s desire to protect its historic resources, the city established the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission and implemented a process of architectural design review.

Any changes to the exterior of a property within a locally-designated historic district, or requiring a city building permit, must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission before any work can commence. If the building is not located within a locally-designated historic district then property owners must receive a Project Approval from the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission before any work can commence. These requirements include exterior paint colors and coatings.

Requiring a Certificate of Appropriateness ensures that changes do not damage the city’s historic character. Review is not meant to discourage alterations, but to ensure that they are appropriate for Deadwood. The Historic Preservation Commission uses the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation as a guide when determining the appropriateness of altering historic properties. The Standards are general in character and are to be used in conjunction with the Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings and Deadwood’s Downtown Design Guidelines. Each of these publications specifically outlines the various aspects of architectural design and what changes are appropriate for historic structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission Office, and when are they open?

DHPC is located in Deadwood City Hall, 108 Sherman Street, next door to the Lawrence County Courthouse. City Hall is open Monday though Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm, and is closed on federal holidays and during weather emergencies.

When was Deadwood founded?

Deadwood was founded in the Black Hills gold rush of 1876. Modern Deadwood encompasses several old mining camps - among them are Elizabethtown, Chinatown, South Deadwood, and Pluma.

What is the population?

The 2000 census counted 1,380 permanent residents.

What is the elevation?

Deadwood, which is at the bottom of a steep canyon, is 4,533 feet above sea level. The hills and mountains that surround the gulch can reach a height in excess of 6,000 feet ,above sea level, and the summit of nearby Terry Peak reaches an elevation of nearly 7,100 feet.

Who do I contact for Deadwood Historic Preservation loans and grants?

Please click on the Grants & Funding tab at the top of this page, or feel free to call us at 605-578-2082.

What is the difference between a contributing and a non-contributing house in Deadwood?

A contributing house is over 50 years old, on the National Historic Register, and contributes to the historic integrity of the City of Deadwood. These houses have strict guidelines to abide by; however they qualify for low interest loans and grants. A non-contributing house is not on the National Historic Register, not older than 50 years, or is over 50 years but has been changed drastically and has lost its historic integrity.

Does Deadwood Historic Preservation have authority over non-contributing houses?

Yes. DHPC has the authority over any house within the city limits of Deadwood. Historic Preservation does not only preserve historical buildings, it must also preserve the historical integrity of the neighborhoods in Deadwood.