Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

The first settlement of Whitewood, SD
The first settlement of Whitewood, SD
Black Hills Pioneer
May 21, 2014

Whitewood's Beginnings

Whitewood has a very colorful history, Black Hills Pioneer reports.

Whitewood was founded in 1877 and incorporated into a city in 1888. Like many other places in the Black Hills, the need for a town close to a gold mining camp was one of the reasons Whitewood came into existence. Pioneer Townsite Company purchased Whitewood's land from William Selbie, an early pioneer.

With the land becoming public, people flocked to the city, where they could purchase plots of land for anywhere between $250 to $500. Because of the growing population of Whitewood, three hotels, two saloons, a barbershop, drug store and many other stores sprung up. 

A railroad line was built from Rapid City to Whitewood in 1887 and more people came to the town. Whitewood's agricultural background allowed trade with mining camps from the surrounding areas. Another railway was built because of Deadwood sheriff Seth Bullock. This railway allowed even more travel through the town of Whitewood and gave it access to the infamous town of Deadwood. 

Flour milling was a huge industry in Whitewood's early days. As time progressed, a saw mill was introduced to the area, providing even more industry and jobs for Whitewood's citizens. Whitewood Valley was known for producing delicious fruit such as raspberries, plums and strawberries.

The first buildings in Whitewood were made of wood, however, local sandstone soon proved to be the prevalent material. A volunteer fire department was founded in 1890. Lane Hotel, a historic landmark, was built in 1904 by Enos Lane. It housed 29 rooms and had heat and electricity. 

As the railroad business grew and expanded throughout the Black Hills, its dependecy on Whitewood dwindled. The railroad depots of Whitewood closed in 1950. Many other business in the town have opened and closed their doors throughout the years. Although Whitewood has changed drastically since the 126 years it was founded, its historic legend still lives on today in the hearts of the locals who call Whitewood their home. 

To learn more about Whitewood, visit the town's websiteWikipedia page or Facebook

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