Historic Preservation in Deadwood

Across the way from the Franklin, the First Western Bank at the corner of Main and Shine Streets is a fine example of late 1800s styling. A block north is the wonderfully restored Carnegie Library at the corner of Shine and Williams. On lower Main Street, three fine examples of restoration exist. Most of the buildings in this area of lower Main Street were heavily damaged or destroyed in a fire in March of 1894. The newer structures in the general area were built shortly after—including the Fairmont, the Bullock, and the Celebrity.

The Fairmont Hotel with its distinctive corner turret was built in 1898. It was considered a “mens” hotel in its early days as the Mansion House. Features included a Turkish bath, tonsorial (barber shop), and a plunge pool in the basement. The Fairmont’s upper floors, as Kranz puts it, “hosted a multitude of illegal activities over the years.”

On the opposite side of the street, the Bullock Hotel dominates the southwest corner of Wall Street and Main. Pioneer marshal, businessman, and cattle rancher Seth Bullock undertook the task of building this historic property in 1894. The original portion of the hotel was built as a warehouse in 1880, with Bullock transforming the property into a hotel after the fire in 1894.

Across Wall Street to the east, the nicely restored Celebrity Hotel and Nelson’s Garage occupy the next half block. Smaller buildings including shops and a theatre were combined in this area in 1990 and 1991 to create the complex as it is now occupied.

The restored Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad station (now used as the city’s welcome and information center) is located at the intersection of Highway 85 and Pine Street. Directly in back of the station on Sherman Street is the famous Adams Museum, a repository of Deadwood and regional history. The beautifully restored Adams House, located on Van Buren Street, was the residence of the family that donated the museum to Deadwood in the 1920’s.

As far as historic replications, the Midnight Star is a great example of adding a floor to an existing structure. Dan and Kevin Costner, owners of the Midnight Star, wanted to give the two-floor building its original three-story look, but space and other considerations did not allow for a total restoration. The result is a very convincing period building on Deadwood’s Main Street. Farther on down Main is the nicely replicated Wild West Winner’s Club building. The new exteriors resemble the original buildings to a certain degree and provide a complementary facade to the rest of the structures on the block.

Entirely new buildings have also been built in Deadwood that are included in a third category—the style called infill, modern structures built to resemble and complement other historic buildings in the immediate vicinity. Some of the finest examples of this form include the Silverado Gaming Hall and Restaurant; the Mineral Palace Hotel, Restaurant and Gaming; the Four Aces Gaming and Hotel; and the Gold Dust/Holiday Inn.

In infrastructure improvements that are not quite as noticeable, the city has used a share of the gaming tax to build a three-level parking structure and to improve the water and sewer systems for the entire community.

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