Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

This stereoscopic view of Central City (between Lead and Deadwood) shows the city sometime after its 1877 founding.
This stereoscopic view of Central City (between Lead and Deadwood) shows the city sometime after its 1877 founding.
Wikimedia image
January 18, 2016

IN HISTORY: Central City Founded Jan. 20, 1877

After the first Deadwood Gulch gold claims were made by a group of nine men on Nov. 9, 1875, in the area that is now Central City, the gulch boomed with mining activity. Two individuals from that group of nine built cabins, the first structures in what would become Central City, according to the South Dakota Historical Society.

In 1876, gold production in Deadwood Gulch hit 1.5 million ounces and the population reached 5,000. On Jan. 20, 1877, a public meeting was held among a group of mining settlements to formally create a town. I.V. Skidmore, a former resident of Central City, Colo., persuaded the group to name the new town Central City. Other camps in the gulch, including Gayville, South Bend, Anchor City, Golden Gate, Blacktail and Go To Hell Gulch, were later incorporated into Central City. 

In June, the Central City post office opened, and that summer the town situated between Deadwood and Lead had about 3,000 residents. The town kept up with its neighbors for Wild West antics.

"A wild and wicked city, gunfights and street brawls were common occurrences," according to the South Dakota Historical Society. (See document attached to this post.)

The 2010 Census showed 134 people living in Central City, down from 149 in 2000.

Related items

  • Lead-Deadwood School Board Announces Vacancy

    Board member Bob Nelson, Jr. submitted his resignation to the Lead-Deadwood School Board at its October 8th meeting, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. It was…
  • Rapid City Organization Celebrates Women’s Equality Day

    In 1920, Congress certified the 19th Amendment, giving women in the United States the right to vote – in 1971, Congress declared that August 26th…
  • Black Hills Energy Donates $25K To Booth Society, Inc.

    Black Hills Energy recently donated $25,000 to the Booth Society, Inc. – the nonprofit group that supports the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and…

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]