Keystone, South Dakota

Home of Mount Rushmore and So Much More

       Keystone's roots began in hard-rock mining with its first permanent settler Fred Cross arriving in 1877.  Fourteen years later the first gold claim was located and the town of Keystone emerged from the claim that bears its name.  The town prospered for the next decade with the culmination of the railroad reaching Keystone in 1900.  After the primary mine closed in 1903 Keystone suffered economic depression and remained there until 1927 when the carving of Mt. Rushmore commenced providing prosperity for Keystone once again.  Keystone once more suffered tragically on June 9, 1972 when torrential rain attacked the Black Hills causing flash flooding on many creeks through out the towns of The Black Hills.  Keystone, showing its enduring spirit yet again, moved forward and rebuilt.  Keystone had become incorporated as a town on June 8, 1972 the day before the flood.

People of interest who lived and\or died in Keystone

Carrie Ingalls (Swanzey), the younger sister of Laura Ingalls (Wilder), who wrote the "Little House on the Prairie" books.

Thomas C Blair and his partners were known for discovering the first producing gold lode claim in Keystone.  The claim was named Keystone because he was from Pennsylvania, the keystone state.  And so our town was named.

Orville Salway "Paha Ska" was known as the "Good Will Ambassador" for the community of Keystone and South Dakota. He was honored by Gov. Bill Janklow in 1997 for his 40 years of promoting Keystone and May 24th was declared "Paha Ska" Day.  Paha Ska was a talented artist and is famous for his paintings on buffalo hides.

William Franklin "Rocky Mountain Frank" and daughter Cora Stone located the richest gold lode in the southern Black Hills.

Jennie Franklin  for whom the "Holy Terror Mine" was named.

Harry Hardin "Wild Horse Harry Hardin" who was a long time Keystone resident and the face of "Landstrom's Old Prospector". His image was used in the advertising of their Black Hills Gold jewelry.

Ben Black Elk who was Lakota Sioux was a fixture at Mount Rushmore Memorial for years.  He would dress in his Native clothing and share stories with visitors to the memorial.  He appeared in several Hollywood movies.

Our Town has a Historic School House that has been turned into a museum.  It is rich in Keystone history.  It has history of early settlers, the founders of our community, miners, the people who carved Mount Rushmore, Carrie Ingalls (Swanzey), kids that actually went to school in this historical school house and their families.  Next door there is also a historical "one room school house" that was moved to the property for preservation. 

 You can find additional history on our town, the above named people and many others at the Keystone Historical Museum.

 The Town of Keystone has a very unique and rich history.  It is worth the visit.

Official Website of Keystone, SD. Copyright 2012 Keystone, SD. All Rights Reserved