Keystone History


ingalls Carrie Ingalls

When Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book,
Little House in the Big Woods
in 1932, she had no idea that she was creating a lasting fame
for herself and her family.

A large selection of books on the Ingalls family are available in the Gift Shop at the Keystone Historical Museum.
Carrie Ingalls, sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, of "Little House on the Prairie" fame, moved to Keystone, South Dakota in 1911. She ultimately resided in Keystone for 36 years. She is buried in the family plot in her hometown of DeSmet, SD.

goldminingh Goldmining

Using hand equipment to drill holes in the solid rock, they
then placed the powder in the drill holes to blast the rock loose. The miners used the drilling process called double jacking. One miner would hold the steel drilling bit, and the other would hit it with a sledge hammer. Miners made a pattern of drill holes on the blast six to eight feet. The design formed by the series of drill holes was called a butterfly pattern. This pattern, similar to the shape of a butterfly with both wings outstretched, allowed the explosives to make a safe square excavation doing little to fracture the sides of the tunnel. A properly done blast would completely fracture the ore without damaging the integrity of the mine walls.
walkingtourh Historic Walking Tour

The "OLD TOWN" Walking Tour
Follow the numbered signs and read about the history of one of the fastest growing boom towns in the Hills. There are 19 stations on the walking tour,
each with a sign in description of the location.
keystonehistory Keystone History

The first non-native activity in the Keystone area of the Black Hills was the discovery of placer gold two miles east on Battle Creek in 1876, which led to the settlement of Harney, named after Mount Harney. Placer gold was known to exist in abundance during the first two years of mining activity, but the great depth of the deposits made them difficult and impractical to reach.
rushmorehi Mount Rushmore

Getting this project underway was a challenge all by itself. Once Robinson and others had found a sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, they had to get permission to do the carving. Senator Peter Norbeck and Congressman William Williamson were instrumental in getting the legislation passed to allow the carving. Williamson drafted two bills, one each, to be introduced to Congress and the State Legislature. The bill requesting permission to use Federal land for the monument was easily passed. The bill sent to the State of South Dakota was not going to be so easy. The Mount Harney National Memorial bill was defeated twice and almost a third time when on March 5, 1925 Governor Gunderson signed the bill. The Mount Harney Memorial Association was established by the Governor later that summer.
Did you know that there is a cave in the mountain behind the heads on Mount Rushmore? It is called the Hall of Records. Gutzon Borglum and his workers started the drilling in July of 1938 and work was halted in July of 1939.

kssm The Living History School

The Keystone Historical Museum is housed in the old Keystone Schoolhouse building of early Victorian architecture. Built in 1900, it served as Keystone's full-time school until 1988.

The Museum houses early day mining tools, historic pictures and photo collections, rock and mineral collections, and historic displays including Carrie Ingalls memorabilia.

The Keystone Historical Museum houses marvelous photo collections of Keystone and her citizens over the years. An excellent geneological resource and reference point.