SPOKANE GHOST TOWN

Spokane
(Click on the picture to Zoom)

“The town founded around the Spokane mine that was started in the 1890’s, supplying lead, zinc, and gold.” (Black Hills Ghost Towns: Parker)

Spokane was an important mining camp located in Black Hills within Custer County. The town was established in 1890 following the discovery of silver/gold at the Spoken Mine.

The Judd family founded Spokane. Judd found a little vein in the side of a nearby hill, and set up a claim there. It was common on cold winter nights to warm rocks on the stove for extra heat. The next morning one rock had dripped a puddle of silver on the stove. That was evidence to Judd, of lead-silver ore bearing mineable silver.

Most of the mining stopped in the 1940s as the ore was completely exhausted. This led to the decline of the town with most of the mine’s workers eventually leaving for better opportunities. The town was completely abandoned in the 1980s.

The Ghost town is 0.3 miles and the mine is 0.5 miles from the trailhead. The trip is a 40 mile round trip from the Rapid City, Hwy 16-Catron Blvd intersection.

Things of interest to see:

The School House and part time Church

– Had a sheltered entryway.

– Someone stripped the siding off, and left the building to collapse.

– Like other small towns the school was probably also used as a church.

– Teacher’s house located a mile up the highway next to the lodge.

The Caretaker’s House

-Located strategically at the entrance of the town.

-When the job was eliminated the caretaker left.

-When the caretaker left, the town was completely abandoned.

-People often notice the wall paper.

The garage/old cabin

Was it a better garage or one room cabin?

The Well House

Is the water still good?

The old car collection

Why were they abandoned here?

The Mill Foundation

What happened to the rest of it?

The Mine Office foundation

Can we better identify the building from its unique foundation?

The Concrete “Powder” Structure?

Vault, powder storage or food storage?

The Shepard Grave

Was he a “claim jumper?”

The town was shook by the 1908 murder of a prominent resident named James “Jim” Shepard. He has a grave in the town that reads he was “murdered over a mining claim”. With his dying breath, Jim told the sheriff that a claim-jumper named Frank Cox shot him because Jim claimed the Spokane Mine. Frank had “jumped” the claim from the previous owner but had not kept up with assessment work. The small town turned on the Cox family. The dramatic trial ultimately decided that the evidence was insufficient and Frank was a free man.

In a July 10, 1909 issue, the Keystone Record covered the preliminary trial. The short article concluded by stating, “it is unfortunate for all concerned, and if Cox proves his innocence, and many believe he will, the chances are we will never know who killed James Shepard.”

James Shepard believed the claim attracting his interest had been abandoned. Frank Cox did not. That evening, Shepard was riding out to bring home a wandering milk cow, when Frank Cox stepped from behind some dog-hair pines with a rifle and shouted, “You’ve driven you last stake.” The shot mortally wounded Shepard. Cox was not convicted.

The Manager’s House

-Once surrounded by the boiler and shaft-house, water tower, the mill, headframe and hoisting mechanism.

-Around the area is evidence of glory holes and mining pits.

-Should this history be saved?

The Spokane Mine area

Will someone new, ever claim it again?

Established in 1890, it produced gold, silver, lead, zinc, and pegmatite minerals as well as the minerals galena, spalerite, and chalcopyrite. By 1927 the mine produced nearly $150,000 a year. The mine ceased production in 1940.

Note the prospect pits found throughout the area.

Several companies tried to turn a profit from the mine during the 1950’s, including one company that turned it into a illegal dump site.

Later the mine buildings either burned or deemed unsafe and destroyed by the U.S. Forest Service.

The forest service required the mine to be reclaimed. The mine equipment was removed and the mine shaft covered with dirt.

Parking:

Parking is available at the trailhead. More parking if needed, can be accessed along the road ditch just North of the trailhead.

The Trail is family friendly.


Click on the red balloon for more information. Click on Satellite for more detail. Right or left click to zoom in or out.

Decimal Degrees: N 43.8413775, W -103.3799128

Trailhead:

Pine Grove Trailhead

Links:

South Dakota Ghost Towns
Dakotagraph
RAREGOLDNUGET.COM

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