The Black Hills Central Railroad operates the 1880 Train between Hill City, South Dakota, and Keystone, South Dakota, on the Burlington Northern Railroad’s former Keystone Branch. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad built the line to serve mining and timber interests, reaching Keystone on January 20, 1900. The line later hauled carving equipment for Mount Rushmore. The Black Hills Central acquired the 10-mile-long in 1981. In 1986 Burlington Northern abandoned the Deadwood branch between Hill City and Deadwood.
The Rapid City alley between Main and St. Joseph streets and connecting 6th and 7th streets isn’t some sort of tribute to New York City of the 1970s and 1980s. Instead, Art Alley is a place where established, burgeoning and wannabe artists put up their best work. Artists can procure a permit to paint on buildings’ walls along the alley, making it an ever-changing public art display.
The Bullock Hotel is a historic landmark located at the corner of Wall Street and Main Street in Deadwood, South Dakota. It was built by Seth Bullock and his business partner Sol Star around 1895 for $40,000. The hotel is the oldest in Deadwood and has 28 of its original 63 rooms and a casino and restaurant. Seth Bullock began construction on the hotel shortly after the devastating Deadwood fire of 1894, which destroyed the original two-story wood-frame building. The hotel was designed in an “Italianate” and Victorian style, with the first floor featuring a grand hotel lobby, a large dining room, and several offices. The second and third stories held 63 luxury sleeping rooms with baths down the halls and two large banks of skylights for natural lighting. All rooms were furnished with iron and brass beds and oak furnishings.
The Chapel in the Hills, a prominent Rapid City landmark, replicates the famous Borgund Stave Church in Norway, dating to the 12th century. The Rapid City chapel was built in 1969 as a tribute to the early Norwegian settlers in the region. The chapel replicates the traditional Norse stave architecture, characterized by vertical wooden posts and intricate woodcarvings. It is made entirely of wood and features a turf roof. The chapel’s interior features intricate woodcarvings that adorn the walls and ceilings, and its design reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Norwegian people. The chapel holds regular church services and often hosts weddings, concerts and other special events.
Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer County, South Dakota, is a monument currently being constructed on privately held Black Hills land. The monument depicts Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse on a horse, pointing to his tribal land. Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, commissioned the memorial, selecting Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to create it. The nonprofit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation operates the monument. Work on the monument began in 1948 and is still far from completion. If the monument is completed as designed, it will be the world’s second tallest statue, following the Statue of Unity in India.
Custer State Park includes more than 71,000 acres and is South Dakota’s first and largest state park. The state park and wildlife reserve is home to an assortment of animals, including free-roaming bison and prairie dogs. The park, established in 1912 and named for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, is famous for Needles Highway and its wildlife loop, offering incredible views of a bison herd and prairie dog towns. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built roads and laid out campgrounds
In the 1930s, work began on Rapid City’s quirky and beloved Dinosaur Park. The idea originated after dinosaur bones and footprints were found in the area. The goal was to convince travelers to Mount Rushmore to visit Rapid City, hoping to change the area from a pass-through town to a must-stop destination. Sculptor Emmet Sullivan and his team used metal pipe frames, wire and concrete to build dinosaurs. Many workers who helped carve Mount Rushmore were hired for the project. Officials initially selected five dinosaurs, but the group expanded to seven when two smaller dinosaurs were added near the gift shop. In the 1950s, the dinosaurs, originally painted gray, were given their green and white color scheme.
The 60-acre Founders Park sits on the site where the original “founders” of Rapid City camped in 1876. Most of the land, which serves as a trailhead for paths along Rapid Creek, was acquired following the 1972 Flood.
The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site includes three sites along a fifteen-mile stretch of Interstate 90 in Western South Dakota. Congress authorized the park in 1999 to preserve components of the Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile system. The site includes the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility, the missile silo at Delta-09 and the visitors center. “The Delta-01 Launch Control Facility provides a remarkable opportunity to view the front line of the Cold War,” Superintendent Eric Leonard said in a 2020 news release.
Mount Moriah Cemetery, established in 1878 in Deadwood, South Dakota, is the final resting place of several famous Wild West figures, including Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock. Some bodies initially buried in Ingelside Cemetery, another cemetery in Deadwood, were relocated to Mount Moriah Cemetery in the 1880s. The cemetery, which sits on a plateau overlooking Deadwood Gulch, has several sections, including a Jewish section and a Potter’s field.
The Mount Theodore Roosevelt Monument, also known as the Roosevelt Friendship Monument or Friendship Tower, is a 31-foot-tall stone tower in the Black Hills National Forest near Deadwood, Lawrence County, South Dakota. The monument is a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt, a deputy sheriff in Medora, North Dakota, in 1884. He became lifelong friends with Seth Bullock, who was the Sheriff of Deadwood at the time, and when Roosevelt passed away, Bullock wanted to erect a monument in his honor. The Society of the Black Hills Pioneers helped build the tower, which was dedicated on July 4, 1919. It donated the tower to the United States Forest Service in 1966. In 2010, a restoration project included foundation stabilization and stone repair. Stairs were added to the monument leading up to the platform, and handrails were installed on the stairs and the platform. The Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, the Black Hills Parks and Forest Association, and the Black Hills National Forest helped restore the monument.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located about 30 minutes southwest of Rapid City, features portraits of four presidents carved into granite — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Measuring 60-feet-tall, the portraits are perhaps the definitive American attraction. Crews completed Mount Rushmore between Oct. 4, 1927, and Oct. 31, 1941. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum selected the four presidents to memorialize on Mount Rushmore. More than two million people visit Mount Rushmore, sometimes called the “Shrine of Democracy.”
Recent news releases from Mount Rushmore National Memorial:
- Sculpture Preservation Continues with Annual Rock Block Monitor Calibration September 11 - 13
- Tourism to Mount Rushmore National Memorial contributes $385.6 million to local economy
- Mount Rushmore Celebrates Independence Day 2023
- Over two hundred new citizens to be naturalized at Mount Rushmore
- Summer Operations Begin Memorial Day Weekend
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum displays more than 30 aircraft ranging from World War II to active-duty bombers, such as the B-29 Superfortress and the B-1B Lancer. The museum is part of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and is located just outside Ellsworth Air Force Base.
President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 created Wind Cave National Park. It was the seventh national park and the first cave worldwide designated as a national park. While the park is known as the home of one of the longest caves globally, measuring more than 149 miles, it is home to the largest remaining natural mixed-grass prairie in the country. The park, which covers 33,847 acres, is home to an array of animals, including bison and prairie dogs. Access to the caves has been closed since 2019 because of a broken elevator.