“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)

The Great Flood

The Great Flood Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 23, 2009
1. The Great Flood Marker
Inscription. “Prepare for the worst!” the telephone call from upstream warned. About that time Whitewood Creek, swollen from spring snow and rain, broke over its banks within Deadwood, carving a path of destruction. The creek which now flows under the highway in front of you, swept away over a hundred Deadwood buildings. Debris lodged against the Lee Street bridge, forming a dam; water rushed around the bridge, destroying structures along Lee Street. The businesses on Main Street were above the water level, but the flood washed out Chinatown, on lower Main Street. Remarkably, only three people were killed. After the flood of 1883, townspeople responded by building a containing wall along the creek bed. Flooding reoccurred until the 1960s when engineers contained Whitewood Creek and built the highway over it. Until that time, there was no north-south roadway between Main and Sherman Streets. As you can see, the backs of the buildings were not designed to be exposed to a thoroughfare.

[Photo captions:] [Right] Debris piled up behind businesses in the 600 block of Main Street. [Photo credit] Adams Museum, Deadwood.
[Left] Looking north along Whitewood Creek after the flood. Notice the unusually wide creek bed, and the lack of bridges. Sherman Street is on the right. [Photo credit] Adams Museum, Deadwood.
Erected by Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission. (Marker Number 11.)
Location. 44° 22.587′ N, 103° 43.776′ W. Marker is in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Lawrence County. Marker is at the intersection of Lee Street and Highway 14A on Lee Street. Touch for map. This marker is on the south-east corner of Lee Street and Highway 14A. Marker is in this post office area: Deadwood SD 57732, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wild Bill (within shouting distance of this marker); The Fire of 1879 (within shouting distance of this marker); Sherman Street and the East Side (within shouting distance of this marker); Black Hills Pioneers (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Deadwood City 1876 (about 300 feet away); Deadwood 1876 (about 300 feet away); Jack McCall Capture Site (about 300 feet away); Waite Block Annex (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deadwood.
Categories. Disasters

Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 19, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 614 times since then and 37 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on November 19, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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