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

A deserved re-post of "Babe Ruth in Deadwood"

Babe Ruth excited Deadwood fans
...but local reporter was unimpressed

by Larry Miller
Babe Ruth played in Deadwood in 1922
The 1920’s hadn’t quite begun to “roar” yet, and the devastating dust bowl of the 1930’s was still a decade away.  Baseball had become the national pastime, and for residents of the northern Black Hills, it didn’t get any better than a fall day in 1922 when the legendary Babe Ruth came to Deadwood as part of a nationwide “barnstorming” tour with Yankee teammate Bob Meusel.
Although Ruth had begun to ascend as a baseball star by 1921, it was an unusual season — his second year with the New York Yankees, and he blasted 59 home runs that season, helping the Yankees to win the American League pennant and face cross-town rival the New York Giants in the World Series.  Ruth was injured in the second game of the series, however, hampering his performance for the remaining games.  The Giants won the series.
It wasn’t long before Ruth was on the road in a “barnstorming” tour, which was a violation of the rules for world series players.  Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended Ruth for the first six weeks of the 1922 season.  Although he batted .315 that short season, it was rather a disappointing one for the Babe.  It ended with yet another lost world series – again to the New York Giants.
The Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times
printed this image of Mrs. Ruth, who
apparently was not with "the Babe."
We don’t know if Ruth was suspended for his 1922 encore barnstorming tour, but he surely delighted folks in western South Dakota when he and Meusel appeared for the seventh in a series of exhibition games across the west one day in late October.  He and Meusel journeyed by train from Sioux City, Iowa, to Norfolk, Nebraska, and then on to Sturgis.  There, they were greeted by an entourage of Deadwood businessmen who drove the big leaguers by automobile over the “Boulder Park Highway” to Deadwood.
The Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times, in its October 19, 1922 edition, reported their arrival in great detail.  “In honor of the event, practically all of the Deadwood business houses will be closed, most of the Black Hills will declare a holiday; the local schools and the Spearfish Normal will be closed this afternoon, and a general holiday will be in effect during the time of the game this afternoon between the hours of 2 to 4 o’clock.”  Ruth and Meusel were “entertained at a luncheon” and then transported to the Amusement Park for the game.
An advertisement in the paper encouraged readers to “See Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel, American League World Series Stars, hit a home run in an exhibition baseball game at Deadwood Amusement Park today.”  Ruth was selected to play with the Deadwood team, which had just won the 1922 Black Hills League championship, while Meusel played for the Black Hills All-Stars, a group of players from the other five teams in the league, Lead, Spearfish, Sturgis, Rapid City, and Aladdin. Both Ruth and Meusel would play first base.  By all accounts, it was a good game, but the big league sluggers provided no home runs.  
The newspaper reporter who covered the event seemed not terribly impressed by the two Yankees.  “The high altitude or the background may have affected the sluggers.  At any rate, those who saw  yesterday’s contest saw nothing that should cause thirty-five thousand New York fans to stand in line from daylight in the morning until two o’clock in the afternoon to secure a ticket, permitting them to see these fellows perform,” he wrote.  Meusel was an unimpressive one for four at the plate for the day, while Ruth was two for three.  But it was the bottom of the seventh inning that seemed to especially delight the reporter.
Teammates Bob Meusel, Lou Gehrig and
Babe Ruth pose for this undated photograph.
It seemed that he (Ruth) really did try this time to knock one over the mountain, but the balls had a tendency to cross the mountain at his rear instead of traveling toward the outfield hillside.  Here it was that the fans, realizing that this would probably be his last time at bat, were in a state of great expectancy.  The big “Bam” gripped his 48 ounce bat with a firm grip and prepared to do things.  After two balls had been called, he fouled one and then let the third ball pass him.  On the next one, he slashed mightily at the crack of his bat as it met the white horsehide sphere, resounding throughout the park but the ball went for a foul, number two.  Six more fouls followed in quick succession, some of them going over the grandstand, some of them into the grandstand, and some of them out over the line of cars, but none over the outfield fence or even close to it.  Finally after sending eight foul balls into the air, causing a happy uprising of merry yells which died out almost as quickly as they arose, he managed to hit a Texas-leaguer over second base for a trip to the second sack where he was left when the side was retired.”
Ruth and the Deadwood team prevailed over Meusel and the All-Stars, 4-2.  And while there were no dramatic homeruns by anyone, everyone seemed to have a good time.  The Pioneer-Times writer finally offered that “…It may be that the local pitchers, Gorum and Gill for the Deadwood team and Meade and Hedje for the All-Stars are not as back-woods in their ball playing as might be supposed by two star homerun hitters who have played before audiences 34 or 40 times as large as the one yesterday.”
After the game, Ruth and Meusel boarded the Northwestern passenger train headed south to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, for yet another exhibition game – and no doubt more thrills for local fans.  Maybe even a home run for the Babe, which he was denied in Deadwood that fateful day in 1922.

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!