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22 Van Buren Street
Status: Former Residence; Museum; Occasional Paranormal Investigations Permitted
In 1892 construction began on this Queen Anne mansion by Harris Franklin so his family could live in the height of all the modern day conveniences (central heat, electricity, indoor plumbing etc). It cost between 8-10,000 dollars to build (262,000 – 327,000 in 2022 dollars).
In August of 1893 the family moved in.
Harris passed the house to his son for $1 in 1904 and he and his wife made changes to the house including the linoleum floor in the kitchen.
In 1920 WE Adams and his wife Alice bought the mansion. They converted the fireplaces to gas and modernized the first floor.
In 1925 tragedy struck the Adams family repeatedly. Alice, who been diagnosed with terminal cancer, went to visit their daughter in California and passed away suddenly. This was so traumatic for the daughter that she went into premature labor which ended not just her own life but also that of her baby daughter.
This left WE Adams as the only survivor of his family – his eldest daughter passed earlier due to disease – so he ensured his immortality by donating $35,000 (595,000 in 2022 dollars) to create the Deadwood Historical Museum – no called the Adams Museum.
WE was remarried to a 29 year old woman he met on the train; Mary. He and Mary continued to live in the mansion until WE died. Mary then closed up the mansion and left everything inside and so it remained for the next 50 years.
In 1987 Mary sold the mansion and all of it’s contents as it was in terrible shape with a leaky roof and water damage throughout.
The new owners – Bruce and Rebecca Crosswaits – ran a bed & breakfast from 1988 to 1992 to generate money for renovations. People got to sleep on the Adams’ sheet and eat breakfast from the Adams’ china.
The City of Deadwood who had suddenly become cash flush due to gambling becoming legalized in 1989 so they bought the house. The city continued to run the bed & breakfast until 1995 when the failure of the heating system led to another closure and the doors were once again locked up.
From 1998 to 2000 more restorations were done to the house; the Crosswaits had turn so much work to the house it was stable enough to gain a historical label opening it up to government grants.
In 2000 the house was opened again, this time as a museum.
The ghost of WE Adams is said to have haunted his house from the moment of his death. It is often said the reason Mary locked up the house and left it as it had been for their marriage is that she heard him prowling around on the second floor shortly after his death.
Even when she returned to Deadwood to visit her family she would stay in a hotel and leave the house to her husband.
The ghost of WE is still very active in the house. He manifests himself most often with the phantom smell of cigar smoke or moving objects.
He is also very fond of doing something unexplainable to say hi to new tour guides. One time he began strenuously rocking the chair in Mary’s room while a guide was giving his first tour.
WE is, by all accounts, a friendly ghost who has simply chosen to stay in the house he so loved in life.
633 Main Street
Status: Functional Hotel, Owners and Staff are Comfortable with the Haunting
Built by Seth Bullock, the first sheriff in Deadwood, on the site of where a converted warehouse burned down in the Deadwood Fire of 1894. It is the oldest hotel in Deadwood and still has 28 of its original 68 rooms.
It was an incredibly luxurious hotel for its time and place with 63 rooms, each with its own bathroom, and a restaurant downstairs that seated 100 and served such delicacies as lobster and pheasant. Mr Bullock would die of cancer in 1919 on his ranch but seems to have returned to his hotel to entertain guests after his death.
In 1976 the hotel was sold and turned into a hardware store. In 1991 it was sold again and converted back into a hotel. The new owners have carefully restored the hotel back to the 19th century with all the modern amenities added.
The apparition of Seth is seen in the basement and in the restaurant and his presence is felt in many rooms and hallways. He seems to show himself when the hotel’s staff is not working to their full capacity – perhaps he is still looking out for his investment.
Dishes and glasses have been known to shake and take flight, lights and appliances turn on and off on their own, items move on their own, showers turn on on their own
A disembodied male voice has been heard, light anomalies, phantom whistling and footsteps, unplugged alarm clocks go off, a broken clock still chimes, cloudy figures are seen in the hallways, TVs operate on their own, and an apparition has been photographed in a mirror.
628 Main Street
Status: Famous Historic and Haunted Hotel; Restaurant and Gaming Establishment
Ghost Tours Available
This hotel opened in 1898 as brothel, bar and casino. It was part of the new Deadwood after the great fire of 1879 and the end of the Gold Rush.
It was built in the middle of the Red Light District at the time. To say some truly terrifying and horrible things happened inside these doors would be the understatement of the century; 20th century at least.
While the Prohibition put the bar underground for a while the prostitution business never stopped and became the major income for the hotel. Even in the 1940’s during the second world war when the US Government ordered all brothels shut down the Fairmont stayed operational.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the brothel business was shut down ending the last cash flow to the hotel. The double blow of the Interstate Highway system – which bypassed the town and finished primary rail travel – all but killed the town’s economy.
The first floor restaurant and bar stayed in business but the second and third floors were closed up and abandoned.
Thankfully the town was given a National Historic Landmark designation and the new owner obtained a loan from the National Park Service. This saved all of the 19th century buildings and brought the customers back.
In 1989 the State of South Dakota approved the City of Deadwood for a gaming license bringing the economy back to life.
The second and third floors are still unused although the real reason has now been uncovered. They contain a population of ghosts who seem to want to keep it them to themselves.
The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab and the Dead Files have all done episodes here.
Ghost Tours are available.
The dark history of this property has left massive amounts of negative energy and more than a few ghosts.
Margaret Broadwater is the hotel’s most well known ghost. She was a prostitute who after nearly drinking herself to death committed suicide by throwing herself from a window on the third floor. Her reason for doing so is unknown: she could have been pregnant or love with a client or just depressed beyond reason from her nightmare life.
Margaret now wanders the building apparently still trapped in the nightmare that forced her to end her own life. She often announces her presence by opening or closing doors while she cannot be seen. Her apparition – when she chooses to show herself - is most often seen on the first floor but that is surely due to being the floor that has the most living people on it.
A very angry and territorial male ghost – who accidentally took his own life – lays claim to the third floor. He is thought to be a fully mature dark entity who would like to find a way to harm the living. The hotel’s owner had has his tools thrown when he tried to start restorations on the third floor.
The owner has been given a method to get rid of this man, so it is possible that he has succeeded in that goal.
Jack McCall; the man who shot Wild Bill Hickok in the back of the head in Saloon #10 – the building next door -; also haunts the hotel. He was convicted of the murder and then suffered through a botched hanging. It is thought that he haunts The Fairmont as it brought happiness to him in life.
The apparition of Jack is seen throughout the building. He is also thought responsible when people feel something unseen brush by them in the hotel as well as women feeling something unseen brushing through their hair. Jack likes hanging out in bar with people drinking and having a good time reliving his own fun while he was alive no doubt.
The ghost of a little boy is also seen in the building running around and playing.
Other Reported Activity: disembodied voices; unexplained noises; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen presences; cold spots; empathic sensations of anger and anxiety (on the third floor); objects moving on their own and feelings of not being and being watched.
10 Mt Moriah Drive
Status: Historical Cemetery
Originally there were 2 cemeteries here: Ingleside Cemetery and the Catholic Cemetery. Ingleside filled up within a few years being – obviously – the only place for a non-Catholic to be buried.
In the 1880’s it was decided that the area occupied by Ingleside was better off being used for housing so they moved some of the bodies. Many of the graves were unmarked, or no one knew the buried person, so many of the remains were simply left buried where they were.
To this day people building a pool or digging in the garden will underearth human bones in the area.
The cemetery has a Potter’s Field where settlers no one knew are buried, a Mass Grave site where 11 men killed in a mill fire are buried as well as a Jewish section – Jews were not treated poorly in this frontier town – and a Chinese section.
There’s also a veteran’s section with vets from the Indian War and the Civil War.
The cemetery also holds the graves of Wild Bill Hickok, Seth Bullock and Calamity Jane in the Boot Hill section; meaning they died with their boots on.
The cemetery is one of the few examples of a Victorian cemetery in the United States.
There is a two dollar entrance fee to the cemetery which is used for its upkeep.
Shadowy figures have been seen by many creeping through the moonlight on the tombstones.
The gates of the cemetery will sometimes unlock and open themselves in the dead of night.
People have reported chills running through their body by simply putting one foot or one hand on to the property.
Other Reported Activity: disembodied voices; phantom children’s laughter; light anomalies; unexplained mists and feelings of being watched.