Visiting the 1880s Town in South Dakota is a blast from the past. Guests who visit can try on historically accurate costumes, take a wagon ride, or just walk around and take in the beauty of this historic town. 1880s Town was originally dreamed up in 1969 when the original 14 acres were purchased by Richard Hullinger, although he did not purchase them with any plans for developing an attraction, when a movie production company came to town he jumped on the chance to develop it into a main street experience that still delights and entertains guests to this day.
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Permanent Attractions and Exhibits
Available in the Longhorn Saloon, a family favorite of visiting the town is renting one of the costumes and dressing up in historically appropriate clothing. After renting costumes, guests are welcome to walk around the town wearing them, take as many pictures as they want, or just stay in the saloon, drink a chilled sarsaparilla, and listen to the piano. There is a small fee per rental and they are available from June through August.
If you take a good look through the town, you should be able to find various props from the famous movie you’ve likely already seen, “Dances with Wolves”. Guests should make sure to check out the sod house, tents, and wagons (Timmons Freights). A beautiful brown horse named Cisco (nicknamed Buck), who had seen his fifteen minutes of fame when he starred in the movie, even lived at the town his entire life, and sadly passed in the year 2008. His memorial is still located there, as his body was buried on-site.
The town itself is home to over 30 original historic buildings (circa 1880 to 1920) that have been collected and moved to the grounds for preservation and display. They were chosen based on not only their historic nature but also how interesting they are to view. They are furnished with thousands of unique historic relics. One of the favorite buildings of many of the visiting guests is the 14-sided barn that was built in 1919, which is where tours of the town depart from. Complete with an automated manure and hay handling system, the barn also showcases antique buggies, stalls with live horses, and a saloon piano that came from Deadwood.
Make sure to check out the Vanishing Prairie museum, which was built for housing the most valuable of the memorabilia and collectibles located at the town. Chief among those collectibles are a pair of boots found at an Indian camping site that were originally from the Custer battlefield, arrowheads, and items from Buffalo Bill himself. This is also where the Casey Tibb’s exhibit is located. Born in 1929, Tibbs was a nine-time world championship winning rodeo cowboy. Before he died in 1990, he was a renowned bronco rider and the museum features a huge array of collectibles and memorabilia owned by the man himself, like a saddle, jackets, belt buckles, and hats as well as event advertisements, sculptures, and photographs of Tibbs.
While visiting the town, guests should make sure to check out the live entertainment! Two different live shows are offered on a regular basis at the town.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays play host to Jeff Kline. His piano stylings are always a favorite of guests, due to both his skill and his enthusiasm for the music. He started playing the piano at just five years old, and joined his first band when he was only 12! During high school, he even played in the Beach Boys before they took off. Now that he is older, he enjoys playing piano in smaller, more personal settings. The live piano entertainment is offered from June through August.
Thursdays through Mondays at the town are when Wild Bill comes out to play. Guests awe over his ability to perform tricks with a simple rope. Make sure to stop by and see if he has learned anything new, or just take a break from walking around the town.
There are also other entertainment events offered, like wagon rides through the town and a renowned music and comedy show. These are all offered free of charge.
Dining and Shopping
Dining while visiting the town is as simple as stopping by the unique train diner! Designed out of an actual dining car and decorated to maintain that feeling for diners, the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and homemade desserts like cream pies! It is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, from 7:00am to 3:00pm. There are also a few shopping opportunities, located in both the barn as well as the convenience store. Grab some apparel, western decor, toys, and other locally made products.
1880s Town, PO Box 507, Murdo, SD, 57559, Phone: 605-344-2236