Visiting 1880 Town
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.