With ample “Old West” buildings and a storied history, the City of Deadwood was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark on July 4, 1961. Deadwood is one of sixteen National Historic Landmarks in the Rushmore State, but is the only one to have its entire downtown sector earn the designation.
Changing desires for the future of Deadwood have posed challenges to its historic status. In 2014, Deadwood’s status as a National Historic Landmark was downgraded from “satisfactory” to “watch.” The creation of several new hotels, casinos and parking lots contributed to the city’s threatened designation. According to the Rapid City Journal, decisions to alter the city’s landscape and tear down smaller, historic buildings in favor or larger ones, contributed to the jeopardized status.
National Historic Landmarks must meet a variety of requirements to achieve the prestigious designation. Districts, sites, buildings, and other objects that played an essential role in American history and have significance within their communities can be designated as landmarks. State, federal and tribal historic preservation officers can nominate properties to become historic landmarks. Nominations are reviewed by state boards which make recommendations based on the qualifications of each applicant.
To learn more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.