Deadwood visitors seek contact with history - KOTA Territory News

Deadwood visitors seek contact with history

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Summer visitors are again flocking to Deadwood.

They arrive as the community continues its nearly one-year effort to rebuff its image as a leading regional attraction, largely because of its legalized gaming.

Random visitors contacted Wednesday said they are back in Deadwood because of its history as the 1870s gold rush town. Many have not been in the historic city since gambling started in the 1980s. Although they are impressed with the changes, gambling was not a priority.

And they are not content to just look. They want to involve themselves in activities that teach them about the history.

Many find it at the Adams Museum. Exhibits curator and educator Darrel Nelson says the hands-on exhibits are growing there and at other local history facilities operated by the Deadwood History organization. The common message focuses on the true Deadwood, not the Wild West romantic view.

"The intention is to have things for people to do, in the best case scenario, things that are based on the story that is relevant to us," he said.

Louie Lalonde's family is now in the fourth generation working at Saloon No 10, and the Deadwood native sees a comeback that is beyond advertising promotions.

"The most significant change that I've seen recently is ... a lot of community pride. It's just a matter of each business stepping outside their own door and taking a look at maybe touching up some paint, putting up a bench, placing a pot of flowers and maybe offering a little warmer welcome mat to everybody that does come here."

Deadwood will celebrate its heritage with Wild Bill Days, Friday through Sunday, June 13-15.
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