Visitors to Deadwood invariably ask where historic Deadwood is. They are looking for the false front wooden buildings, canvas tents and boardwalks portrayed in movies and on television, particularly in HBO’s new dramatic series, Deadwood. Many are surprised to learn that the Deadwood of their imagination burned down in 1879 and that today’s Deadwood is the historic Deadwood, dating from 1879-1880.
In order to provide visitors with an accurate idea of the 1876 Deadwood, the Deadwood Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, in association with Deadwood Alive! and supported by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, are constructing a series of building facades that represent what would be seen in 1876 Deadwood.
“People who visit this set will have a sense of how the original town was born, how its men and women lived and died and what the storefront facades looked like in the formative years of this community,” says Mike Lloyd, who serves on the HBO Deadwood Set Committee. “It will give them a slice of old Main Street.”
This series of facades is based on the many historic photos of Main Street in 1876. According to Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Jim Wilson, construction of the 240-foot-long set will be completed in early June. Wilson said the wooden facades, facing U.S. 85 and visible from Main Street, are designed to help visitors appreciate Deadwood’s earliest history and to serve as a venue for daily entertainment.