The many abandoned, neglected and often forgotten Ghost Towns that lay to rest in the Mountains of the West and the Black Hills of South Dakota
, tell a story of the past that I find intriguing. Most of these towns grew up during the height of the Gold Rush in the mid to late 1800's
, often being populated by 1000's of people hoping to make their fortune. But, sadly all good things come to an end, and the end of the Gold Rush was the demise of many of these towns, except for Deadwood, Lead, Hill City and Custer that survive today.
One such town in the Black Hills of South Dakota had been on my radar for a while, and in May 2018 I finally located it and paid it a visit, the old town of Spokane, Custer County, SD
Spokane was founded in 1890
originally as a gold mining camp, but the mine also produced silver, lead, copper, mica and zinc. Mining operations peaked in 1927, but the gradual decline of the mine soon followed, eventually shutting down in 1940 after 50 years!
Little evidence remains today of the mine itself, it was filled in by the U.S. Forest Service, and the unsafe buildings were removed. There are ghostly remains still of the town that sprung up around the mine, and wandering around the abandoned townsite is a very eerie experience.
Mother nature has reclaimed the buildings and scattered objects, and the thought that this decaying site was once people's homes and livelihood is quite a ghostly experience.
|Old garage or workshop|
There are two houses still standing, the most obvious one sits in a meadow and was the caretaker's house. The residence was a good size house, on 2-floors, with a nice overhanging porch. The siding and roof have seen better days, and may not withstand too many more winters. Peering inside the house you can still see the old wallpaper and some personal items.
|Caretaker's house leaning a lot|
|Evidence of wallpaper & paint still|
The second house that is still standing I believe is east of this meadow towards where the original mine workings would have been, I will scope that one out on another trip. Littered around the caretaker's house are numerous old cars, probably from the 1940's/50's perhaps. These old rusting cars surrounded by vegetation make great photographic subjects.
|Still has paintwork and chrome, but no Engine|
|Amazing how they have survived so long|
|2 real old classic cars|
Spokane mining town is located just north of Highway 16A
(Iron Mountain Road), approximately 15 miles Northeast of Custer, and 6.5 miles South of Keystone. You can park on the east side of Playhouse Road a stone's throw North of Highway 16A, and next to the gated Forest Road 330
. A short walk southeast along the Forest Road will take you to the meadow and the mine beyond.
|Park at the RED Star (USDA Forest Service map)|
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