Named after General George Armstrong Custer, Custer has the distinction of being the first city established in the Black Hills.
Horatio N. Ross, a civilian prospector on the Custer expedition, found the first known traces of gold in French Creek, east of the city’s current location in the summer of 1874. The Gordon Party of prospectors came to the area shortly after the discovery and established the Gordon Stockade near the site of the gold deposits.
When the city of Custer was formally established in 1875, gold prospectors who founded the city insisted on a street wide enough to turn a team of oxen. This established a wide thoroughfare, and created a 150 foot wide Main Street. This community has a colorful history of mining, lumbering, ranching and tourism.
Today, this “mile-high” community rates as one of the most beautiful areas in the Black Hills. Custer State Park, with its pristine lakes and unusual granite Needles, lies just north and east of the city. In 1948, Korczak Ziolkowski chose a mountain just north of Custer for the carving of the Lakota Indian leader Crazy Horse.
Custer is well suited to accommodate the normal influx of summer visitors with numerous attractions, motels, campgrounds and restaurants. Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park are all within easy driving distance. In late July, Custer celebrates its founding with Gold Discovery Days, an annual reenactment of the discovery of gold in the area. Come and visit Custer—the Gateway to the Best of the Black Hills.