The story of the famous Black Hills Gold Rush has been told and retold. These accounts include countless history books, numerous fictional novels and most recently HBO’s loosely historical series, Deadwood.
The times of “fabulous fortunes” were sensational, wild, perhaps wicked and short lived. The actual Deadwood/Lead gold rush began in 1875 and ended in 1877. Yet gold was to play a huge role in the area’s history, economy, and development for many, many years to come.
Toward the end of the big Black Hills gold rush, mining magnate, George Hearst arranged to purchase one of the most promising claims in the Lead/Deadwood area for $70,000 and incorporated it as the Homestake Mining Company. That was the beginning of a story with a list of accomplishments, both technological and civic that is over 126 years.
Before its closing in 2002 Homestake Gold Mine was the oldest, largest and deepest mine in the Western Hemisphere, reaching more than 8000 feet below the town of Lead.
Without a doubt, the best place to begin to uncover the fascinating story of the Homestake Gold Mine is the Homestake Visitor Center at 160 West Main Street, Lead SD.
The Homestake Visitor Center provides captivating surface tours that explore the historic town of Lead and both Homestake Gold Mine’s underground and surface operations. It also offers free viewing of the historic 1876 Open Cut mining area, artifacts, an informational mining video, historic and educational memorabilia and a gift shop.