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Visiting 1880 Town

Updated on October 26, 2015
14 sided round barn
14 sided round barn
An old Wells Fargo stage coach
An old Wells Fargo stage coach
Window of the Wells Fargo office
Window of the Wells Fargo office
And for the ladies a very private bath
And for the ladies a very private bath
Doc Adam's office from Gunsmoke
Doc Adam's office from Gunsmoke
inside of Doc Adam's office
inside of Doc Adam's office
The bar tender at the Longhorn Saloon
The bar tender at the Longhorn Saloon
The stage at the Longhorn Saloon
The stage at the Longhorn Saloon

Visiting the 1880 Town is just like a step way back into history. When you are traveling across Interstate 90 through the great state of South Dakota, You'll have the unique opportunity to be traveling back in time over 135 years as well. You'll see the bill boards for 1880 town all along the Interstate miles in advance. 1880 Town which is located east of the Badlands National Park, and about 100 miles west from the homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder in De Smet, South Dakota is a perfect place to stop and stretch your legs. Now this town hasn't exactly been located here since 1880. A matter of fact it all began with a gas station being built here in 1972 with the idea of forming a wild west attraction some day. The Main street of 1880 Town was actually built by a movie company that abandoned it's plans for an old Western type motion picture after a harsh winter set in. So the Main Street movie set was moved and relocated to what is now 1880 Town. (Now you may be thinking that there are typos in this hub, and that it should actually be spelled "1880's Town". However your eyes are actually reading this correctly, and it's just 1880 Town.)

The buildings in 1880 Town are all historically correct for an early South Dakota town. You are first greeted by a 1950s era train diner, which is actually located in an actual South Dakota Central train complete with a diner car. The tour of 1880 Town then starts inside of the massive 14 sided round barn which was moved here from it's original site 45 miles away. The barn is packed full of Indian relics, toys, antique buggies, horses in stalls, a saloon piano from Deadwood, and all sorts of interesting old historical artifacts.

Once you leave the 14 sided round barn a panoramic view of the town awaits you right outside of the door. You will see and be able to explore more than 30 authentically furnished original buildings from this time period. There's a one room school house, barber shop, saloon, Wells Fargo Express office, Blacksmith shop, general store, doctor's office, bank, U.S. Marshal's office, jail, hotel, Dry Goods store, saddle shop, and livery barn. There's also a church, water tower, Tee Pees, post office, jewelry store, wagon shop, fire company, town hall, and numerous homes along with many other buildings throughout the the town. Some of these buildings staircases still carry the scars made from cowboys' spurs.

1880 Town is also the ultimate trip for fans of the movie "Dances With Wolves". There are movie props here from the movie "Dances With Wolves", Timmons Freight Wagons, a Tee Pee, as well as Jim and Jake the lead mules from the movie. You will also find Doc Adam's office from the television show "Gunsmoke", and Tee Pees from the movie "Hidalgo". There was also a Buick commercial, Discovery Channel show, Gateway 2000 video, and scenes from the 1977 documentary "Love for the Land" filmed at 1880 Town. So not only is 1880 town full of history, it's also from time to time involved in making more history.

You'll have a day packed of seeing just how life was in the past at 1880 Town. Sometimes you'll actually go back in time some, just like time did with us. Let me explain some. We were in the Longhorn Saloon down towards the end of main street enjoying a few cold ones on a hot July Summer day. We noticed the time for the next show was posted on a bulletin board just down at the bottom of the old west stage. As we discussed hanging around the saloon a little longer to watch the next show, we noticed on the bulletin board that we missed the last show by just 15 minutes. We all then figured that was okay, and that we would just be moving on towards the Black Hills. When I was returning my mug to the bar, the bar tender who must have overheard us talking, asked if we were from back East. I said yeah, why do you ask. The bar tender said because a few miles after you drove past Murdo, South Dakota you crossed over from the central time zone into the mountain time zone and you need to set your watch back an hour. We all thanked the bar tender, and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that instead of missing the last show by 15 minutes, we still had another 45 minutes to go before the next show started. We got another round of cold ones from the bar, and waited for the next show to begin. We all figured that this wasn't the first time the bar tender used this technique to drum up more business at his bar, and that my friends is TheHoleStory on South Dakota's original 1880 Town.

You'll find the 1880 town located in South Dakota off of exit 170 on Interstate 90. Their mailing Address is P.O. Box 507, Murdo, South Dakota 57559

Note - I just wanted to say that I took every single one of these 65 pictures in this hub myself, and that I give permission to anyone who would like to use any of these photos in anyway that they wish.

The 1950's South Dakota Central train diner at the entrance of 1880 town
The 1950's South Dakota Central train diner at the entrance of 1880 town

The Authentic Blacksmith shop photographs taken just for B.J.


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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Great hub. It's been awhile since I visited and it's changed. Loved your photos, too!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      What an interesting place this is. Your photos are fantastic! I loved the movie Dances With Wolves. How interesting to know that the set is in South Dakota and that many western films were shot in this place.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Really nice photos, Holestory! Thanks for sharing about an interesting place.

    • Ms Olga profile image

      Olga 3 years ago from London

      Back to the 18th Century. Very interesting. Looking at the pictures and reading the short story, I just want to go out there and explores more. But glad the new technology gave us this chance to discover and be part of it from an article or books. well done.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Looks like a great place to visit. I'll watch my feet so I don't step on any rabbits (love that sign!).

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      What fun! Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Great photos and this looks like a really cool place to visit, especially for history buffs. By the way, I am corn cobs hurt (they seem like they would). :-) :-) :-)

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Have a Prosperous 2015, Holestory.

      The pictures look interesting, but do you think you could give them some sort of description. Some are self-explanatory, but again the location would be handy - as would a map. I know the 'Badlands' are in the West, but that's a massive area (about the size of Europe on its side).

      Stay lucky, Alan

    • Romanian profile image

      Nicu 3 years ago from Oradea, Romania

      That projects it's awesome, it should be made one in every country, with different periods. Your photos are beautiful.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 3 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I love the photos and it's so interesting to read about towns from the past. If I weren't so far away, I would definitely visit there. Thanks for sharing the story and the photos.


    • profile image

      Wolfs Paw 3 years ago

      That is a great story and so many nice photos. I didn't know there was that much to see there. I did get a chance to stop by, "Dances with Wolves". At the time, I didn't know I would be going by it. And, of course, when I caught site of it I had to turn around. The wolf hybrid I have has the same markings of the wolf they used in that movie. Looks like many more interesting places to visit. Thank you for sharing!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Fascinating photos and I loved the population sign :D

    • profile image

      missirupp 3 years ago

      This is great. I am so bummed I didn't know about this when I was in South Dakota a couple of years ago.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Surely did bring back some memories. Great photo album. I would like to visit it someday.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      1880 Town sounds like a neat place to visit, but if I ever visit South Dakota, it will be in the summertime. Your descriptions are informative, and your photos are great, especially the one-holer. That brings back memories of my childhood. I loved Laura Ingals Wilder's Little House on the Prairie and the movie "Dances with Wolves." Thanks for a good trip.