Tag Archives: Deadwood

Historic Industry in Western North Dakota

Railroad workers in 1910, this one mile west of Regent, North Dakota.

Railroad workers in 1910 one mile west of Regent, North Dakota.

I just finished a lunch of homemade chicken soup (with lots of fresh lemon juice and cilantro), and before I grab a coffee and get back to the busywork, I thought I would upload a photo of historic railroad industry in western North Dakota circa 1910. The photo was taken about a mile west of Regent, as track was being laid to connect the rural agrarian areas of the American interior with the city centers and rail hubs of Dickinson, Bismarck-Mandan, Fargo, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and so on.

Looked at from an agrarian context, railroad construction was big throughout the world at this time, as nation-states increasingly relied on agricultural production to feed an ever growing populace, and this led to increased competitions over global resources. I suppose a modern public historical treatment of pumping Euro-Americans into colonizing the continent’s interior might come by way of AMC’s “Hell On Wheels” or HBO’s “Deadwood,” a kind of post-Civil War historical days of our lives with amplified skull-duggery, dodgy behavior, and shenanigans. But don’t simply rely on Hollywood to shape the way the past is understood. It’s best to get into those archives and see the documents for yourself.

Wild Bill Hickok and Western Americana

On August 2, 1876, Jack McCall forever immortalized himself and Wild Bill Hickok when said McCall shot and killed Wild Bill in Deadwood, southwestern Dakota Territory. Since then, any number of statues have been created to memorialize and deify Hickok. In Deadwood today, at least as of July 2012, there are numerous signs and busts of Hickok. His heroic and tragic story was popularized even further by the HBO series Deadwood (this is similar to the how Shakespeare popularized the story of Julius Caesar, too). Below is some of the Hickok iconography throughout Deadwood, South Dakota:

Wild Bill Hickok’s grave site at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Offerings at Wild Bill Hickok’s grave in Deadwood, South Dakota.

The “Dead Man’s Hand” at the base of Wild Bill Hickok’s grave in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Saloon #10 signage in downtown Deadwood.

Bust of Hickok in downtown Deadwood.

A 19th century bronze Hickok greets 21st century motorists entering Deadwood, South Dakota.