Thursday, February 7, 2019


Re:  McGovern Hill Issue

From Lynn Nammynga - Long serving  LCHS Board Member and former Historic Preservation Officer
Like a slow metastasizing cancer, Deadwood is gradually losing its historic character and community to big money and gambling. On December 13th the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission voted 5 to 2 to allow a mountain viewshed to be torn away to build one 8 story and two 7 story “chalets” on the side of McGovern hill overlooking historic Deadwood. This Mountain Grand project consists of selling these virtually inaccessible time share units and renting them out during the balance of the year.
This desecration of another mountain side in Deadwood gives permission to other gambling properties that in the past have asked to tear down mountainsides behind their casinos. H.P. has largely denied these requests. I question why the Commissioners have now decided it’s somehow okay. You can bet that other casinos will jump at the opportunity, and their lawyers will now have no trouble getting it done.
 With large numbers of vacant homes, 40+ illegal airb&b’s, no grocery store, no senior center, the grade school and town losing population, Deadwood has changed greatly since I moved here 25 years ago.  What the town does has to offer residents are its history and the surrounding beauty, now under attack.  Already Deadwood’s historical designation is listed as “threatened,” a fact that does not seem to bother most of our H.P. Commissioners.  Maybe it’s time to just pull the shades and close the door on our historical town and turn it over to the big box casinos.

From Donna Watson - Long serving LCHS Board Member and current Vice President
On December 13th the members of the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission (5/2) set aside precedent and their oaths of office to allow Deadwood Mountain Grand to build three sets of time share units (“chalets”) seven and eight stories high on the steep side of McGovern Hill, which happens to look down upon a portion of historic Deadwood. In past years other gaming resorts in town have requested permission to tear down hillsides above their establishments to create greater space, but have generally been denied. As a resident of Deadwood I can only wonder what prompted these stewards of our town’s historic preservation to turn their backs on precedent and practicality to allow this debacle. I fear there’s something rotten in the “state” of Deadwood. 

Announcement about McGovern Hill

On December 12, 2018, the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission voted that the Mountain Grand Chalets project covering McGovern Hill would “encroach upon, damage, or destroy any historic property included in the national register of historic places or the state register of historic places” in Deadwood.

Then, the Historic Preservation Commission voted 5/2 to approve building 3 to 4 seven-stories high condominiums across the top of McGovern Hill in Deadwood. This will have a significant adverse effect on Deadwood, since McGovern Hill is an historic focal point in the downtown area.  No historic photos show buildings on the hill

If you think this decision jeopardizes our physical history and historical views, please contact the state office:

Jay D. Vogt
State Historic Preservation Officer
900 Governors Dr.
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605-773-3458

And the Deadwood Historic Preservation Office:

Kevin Kuchenbecker
Historic Preservation Officer
108 Sherman Street
Deadwood SD 57732
Phone: 605 -578-2082

Friday, January 18, 2019

Happy New Year, History Lovers!

Happy 2019 from LCHS! We're looking forward to a year of Historical fun.  We are also looking for a volunteer to post on our blogspot that you are reading now.  Please contact us at if you are interested.
We will announce our activities for the year after our February board meeting.

Thank you and have a Historical day!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring Fun: Good Food, Old West Wagon Master at The HARCC !

Come one, Come all to our Spring Member Program on April 15th!
Enjoy delicious lunch catered by Cheyenne Crossing.  See old west wagon master James Liberty Fisk portrayed by Mr. Arch Ellwein.  High Noon at The HARCC, 150 Sherman Street. $15 for Members, $20 for nonmembers (includes a year membership!)  Call 605-578-9770

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fall Meeting: Historic Barn Tour!

October 1st- Be a part of our Historic Barn Tour presented by Mr. Leo Orme.
The day begins with lunch at The HARCC at 11:30 am- a lovely meal catered by Cheyenne Crossing Catering.  At 12:15 pm we will load up the bus to tour Historic barns of Lawrence County, narrated by Mr. Leo Orme.
The tour takes approximately 3 hours.  Wear comfy shoes and consider bringing water.
$25 per person includes lunch and the tour.  Contact Donna Watson for your ticket: 605-578-9770
The first 40 people get to ride the bus, so call soon!
Mr. Orme's book, "Historic Barns of Lawrence County" will be available for purchase as well.

Look for us at The Book Fair!

September 22 and 23 @ Deadwood Mountain Grand
Come purchase golden nuggets of history! We'll be selling the following books at our booth:
--A Timeline of Lawrence County by LCHS
--Deadwood's Mt. Moriah Cemetery by Mike Runge
--Historic Markers of Lawrence County booklet by Norma Kraemer and LCHS
and possibly more!
Stop by or miss out!

Pioneer Families: Your histories are needed!

Attention members: We need members of families who were early pioneers of Lawrence County.  We're currently collecting histories of pioneer families for our sequel book, Some History of Lawrence County, Volume 2.
Please contact us at ASAP for more information!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Invitation to the Ft. Meade Museum Social

Attention History Buffs:  We at The Lawrence County Historical Society have been cordially invited by The South Dakota Historical Society to their Fundraising Social at Ft. Meade Museum on THURSDAY AUGUST 18TH -- 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
Come and enjoy:
-Badger Clark poetry set to music by Pegie Douglas
-Free Tours of the Museum
-Beverages and Hors d'oeuvres
-Silent Auction
$25 suggested donation at the door
RSVP to 605-773-6298 or by Monday Aug 15.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring Meeting 2017!

Attn LCHS members! On Sunday April 23rd at high noon, Mr.  Richard Kaan will be speaking about the stage coach and freight wagon routes in the Black Hills.
$15 per person gets you lunch and history! At the HARCC (150 Sherman Street in Deadwood.) Catered by Cheyenne Crossing.  For reservations call Donna Watson at 605-578-9770.
Be there or be bored!

Friday, February 24, 2017

ATTENTION LCHS MEMBERS: There is a board meeting scheduled for Monday March 13th at 4 pm at the HARCC (150 Sherman in Deadwood.) All members are welcome, and encouraged to attend.  Your ideas are needed! We'll be discussing our Spring event... We hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Whitewood will commemorate Calamity Jane's last photo taken there

Whitewood, South Dakota will be placing a plaque on the sidewalk where Calamity Jane had her last photo taken.  Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Whitewood To Install a SD Historical Marker on July 3rd, 2016


Whitewood  Installs A South Dakota  Historical Marker

Whitewood, SD  -  On July 3 at 11:00 am in the center of town, Whitewood will hold a dedication ceremony for their first South Dakota Historical Marker commemorating the first train from the East in the Northern Black Hills.

“Our entire community has been involved in this project.   We held bake sales to earn the money needed to purchase the marker with people buying a plate of cookies for $20,” said Whitewood Chamber of commerce President Rita Bestgen.   Through a grant, the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation provided half the cost of the marker.  “We are very grateful to the DAR ladies for helping get this Marker,” said Besten.

Chris Nelson, W Historic Preservation Specialist with the South Dakota Historical Society, worked with community members to establish the evidence that the first train from the East in the Northern Black Hills pulled into Whitewood in November of 1887.   Whitewood remained the “End of the Line” until the railroad main line was completed through St. Onge to Belle Fourche in 1890 and the branch line to Deadwood was completed the same year.   One Whitewood Historic researcher commented about how difficult it was to get the wording on the Marker just right..   “To tell the whole story in so few words was hard.  Chris was very helpful with this,” she said.

Over six years ago the Whitewood Library began gathering and filing historical photos, documents, resident stories, and other material on the town’s history.   These files were used to document the information needed to complete the Marker application.

Whitewood’s Mayor Mitch Harmon will introduce the speakers at the July 3 ceremony.  “This is a great day for our small town, and to and celebrate this patriotic weekend.   It is so important to remember the role we played in the development of the Northern Black Hills."  The public is invited.