“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Deadwood in Lawrence County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

School District #02

1881 - 1971

— A Trail to Deadwood's Past —

School District #02 1881-1971 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, October 6, 2021
1. School District #02 1881-1971 Marker
Inscription.  The establishment of higher education is an important benchmark in the development of a community, and Deadwood was no exception. In 1881 Deadwood became the second established School District within Lawrence County, Dakota Territory. In the ensuing years after the district's incorporation, two grade schools and a high school were constructed and operated in three of the four city wards:

First Ward: grade school - Burnham Hill; Second Ward: high school - upper Main Street; Fourth Ward: grade school - Jackson Street

Throughout its 90 years of existence, the Deadwood School District, its educators, and the community persevered through fires, floods, and financial difficulties - a testament to the importance of educating its children. The first high school graduating class occurred in 1886 and consisted of six students: Annette Forest, Belle Chase, Estelline Bennet, Irene Cushman, Mamie Philips, and Minnie Craig. In the 1920s the school body adopted the bear as the official school mascot. The Deadwood High School Bears became a powerhouse in western South Dakota winning numerous academic and athletic competitions attributed to
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students and the school faculty's dedication to higher education and school pride. As Deadwood's community grew, so did the School District. The school campus underwent building expansions in 1899, 1904 and 1925.

In the 1960s the Deadwood and Lead School Boards began discussions to merge the two neighboring school districts based on a decrease in funding and student enrollment. The 1971 DHS Seniors were the last graduating class in Deadwood. The following year, Deadwood's High School building was converted into the new Lead-Deadwood Elementary and Middle School. In 2004 a brass plaque commemorating the DHS students was mounted on the side of the school building. Today, the elementary school campus is all that remains of School District #02 in Deadwood Gulch.

Color postcard of Deadwood's High School campus, circa 1910.
1941-1942 DHS students at front entrance to school.
Brass plaque donated by the DHS Classes of 1954 & 1955.

Erected by Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Education. A significant historical year for this entry is 1881.
Location. 44° 22.53′ N, 103° 43.908′ W. Marker is in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Lawrence County. Marker is at the intersection
School building with marker seen in the lower right, on the retaining wall image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, October 6, 2021
2. School building with marker seen in the lower right, on the retaining wall
of Main Street and Pine Street, on the right when traveling south on Main Street. Mounted on a retaining wall in front of school. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 716 Main St, 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. Spanish-American War Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Deadwood Changing -- 1884, 1909 and Now (a few steps from this marker); Serving the Black Hills (within shouting distance of this marker); Deadwood’s Grand Bandstand (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Deadwood's Carnegie Library (about 300 feet away); History Buried Beneath Your Feet (about 300 feet away); Black Hills Trust and Savings Bank (about 400 feet away); Waite Block Annex (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deadwood.
More about this marker. Marker is mounted in the former location of the Spanish-American Memorial marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 6, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 188 times since then and 39 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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Apr. 15, 2024