Gold Discovery Days – A Custer Tradition

The Black Hills has offered many things to countless persons over the centuries. With its treasures of wildlife, forests, and streams, the Lakota believed that their Great Spirit dwelled high in this range of bountiful and mysterious mountains. It is not hard to see why they felt this way.

In 1874, General George Custer led the troops of the 7th Cavalry into the Black Hills on a scientific expedition to confirm the presence of gold. Custer and his men found wealth beyond gold in the bounty and the beauty of the Black Hills. With the Gold Mining in the Black Hills at their camp near the present day city of Custer, the change to the region was immediate. 

Prospectors began to fill the French Creek valley, and the city of Custer was born in 1875. Businessmen brought their trade into the region, as did settlers, ranchers, and families looking to create a new way of life. Life for the residents in the Black Hills region changed again, and a new culture settled in and evolved in the valleys and shadows of the Hills.

Fifty years later, in 1924, a local pageant was created to commemorate the cultures involved in defining Custer. Gold Discovery Days began with portrayals of Black Hills beauty and legends, Native Americans, soldiers, and cowboys. Many events and activities have been added since including a parade, art show, and carnival.

The Gold Discovery Days celebration is an annual tradition scheduled in the summer.