Once known as the wildest and woolliest town in the West, Deadwood is decidedly friendlier today than it was in its 1870s heyday. Founded two years after the discovery of gold during the 1874 Custer Expedition, Deadwood is anything but dead today. In fact, in the past two decades, more than $220 million has been invested in this quaint Victorian town tucked in a gold-filled gulch, making Deadwood one of the largest ongoing historic preservation projects in the nation.
The action in Deadwood drew the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Wild Bill’s stay, however, was short. He was shot in the head while playing poker at the Saloon No. 10. He died holding two pair aces and eights, forever known as the Dead Man’s Hand.
Contemporary visitors discover brick-lined streets, period trolleys and lighting, intriguing museums and Main Street shootouts by Wild West re-enactors. When coupled with a year-round slate of special events and free outdoor concerts, parades and rodeo performances, Deadwood is still the best bet for your vacation dollar.