11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Deadwood Historic District

Year Listed: 1989, 1990
Location: South Dakota
Threat: Development


The Midnight Star in Downtown Deadwood, South Dakota.

Credit: Jennifer Buddenborg

With the discovery of gold by General Custer's men less than a mile from the center of Deadwood, the population of this small South Dakota town exploded. The growing community and its architecture were diverse -- it included its own China Town and included architectural styles ranging from simple wooden buildings to elaborate 19th-century design styles. By the 20th century however, Deadwood's population had dwindled and the city was badly in need of renovation. Legalized gambling operations were suggested in an attempt to raise capital and interest in the Deadwood community, but preservationists worried that the pressure to create revenue would negatively impact the historic importance of the town.