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Deadwood in Lawrence County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Elizabethtown

— A Trail to Deadwood's Past —

 
 
Elizabethtown Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, October 6, 2021
1. Elizabethtown Marker
Inscription.  Extending from the base of Brown Rocks to the beginning of present-day lower Main Street, Elizabethtown was the first of many mining camps established in Deadwood Gulch during the earliest days of the gold rush. Named for Elizabeth Card, one of the first white women to arrive in the area, Elizabethtown was settled at the widest, flattest part of the Gulch where Spring Creek and Whitewood Creek met.

The availability of fresh water was vital to survival in early camps. Spring Creek was not only fresh and steady, but cold and fast-moving. This allowed early inhabitants to use the creek for generating power, making ice, and brewing beer - activities that greatly improved the quality of life in the area. Parkhurst's Brewery, probably the first in the Black Hills, was built along Spring Creek at Main Street. John Hildebrand, formerly George Armstrong Custer's personal secretary, settled at the present site of 158 Williams Street in 1876 and constructed an ice storage house nearby. And since the primary goal of coming to the area was to find gold, placer mining claims were also established all along both Spring Creek
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and Whitewood Creek.

Elizabethtown and early Deadwood were constantly plagued by flooding. Floods in 1878 and 1883 carried off homes, livestock, and even a few unfortunate miners. Efforts to prevent future flooding were soon underway and have continued to present day. Spring Creek currently flows through a culvert under the streets, but can been seen coming down the hill along Spring Creek Road. Whitewood Creek can be seen behind the bulkheads on the other side of the parking lot.

As more people arrived in the area, competition for prominence among the various camps grew fierce. Though the Deadwood camp quickly became the most populous, the earliest citizens of Elizabethtown rejected propositions of consolidation. The small town thrived independently early on, adding many amenities such as a school, grocery, stage stop, waterworks, church, and blacksmith.

Elizabethtown finally became an official part of the "big city" when Deadwood incorporated in 1881. 'This allowed the communities to pool their resources to provide such additional services as a fire station, improved waterworks and, eventually, a railroad depot. Though now officially part of Deadwood, locals continue to refer to the neighborhood as "Elizabethtown." The neighborhood became well-known as the residence of Deadwood's most skilled builders and craftsmen.

Elizabethtown Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, October 6, 2021
2. Elizabethtown Marker
Captions:
Preservation Commission Elizabethtown, c. 1890s. By the time this photo was taken, Elizabethtown had been incorporated into the city of Deadwood and trains moved constantly in and out of town. The street running up the hill is present-day Burnham Avenue.
A toll house guards the road leading into Elizabethtown and Deadwood, c. 1880.

 
Erected by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersIndustry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1876.
 
Location. 44° 22.868′ N, 103° 43.442′ W. Marker is in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Lawrence County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Violin Street, on the right when traveling south on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Deadwood SD 57732, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wild Bill Hickok (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chinatown (approx. 0.2 miles away); Deadwood’s Boy Scout Tree Project (approx. 0.2 miles away); Placer Claim No. 2 above Discovery (approx. 0.3 miles away); Historic Facade Replication (approx. 0.3 miles away); Historic Site Saloon Number 10
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(approx. 0.3 miles away); The Badlands (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wall & Main Street: Commercial Center (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deadwood.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 6, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 234 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 6, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 23, 2024