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History Comes to Life

Home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone boasts a rich mining history and stunning natural scenery.

 

Following the discovery of gold in nearby Battle Creek, a group of American and British stockholders acquired more than 1,100 mining locations including the Keystone Mine, which spurred a new settlement in 1891. The discovery of a rich gold strike at the base of Mount Aetna in 1894 led to a mining boom that caused Keystone’s population to swell, aided by the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1900. Tourism surpassed mining in 1927 when sculptor Gutzon Borglum chose nearby Mount Rushmore as the location for his monument to four American presidents, and Keystone has been a must-see destination ever since.

History comes to life in Keystone, where museums pay tribute to the early prospectors and pioneers who carved out a living in the Black Hills. Their stories are found in the exhibits and collections of the Keystone Historical Museum, a Victorian schoolhouse built at the turn of the century that also houses memorabilia from Carrie Ingalls, the younger sister of author Laura Ingalls Wilder. If four presidents barely whet your appetite, the National Presidential Wax Museum depicts lifelike recreations and includes a self-guided audio tour. 

For a true hands-on experience, Big Thunder Gold Mine gives you the opportunity to pan for your gold while learning more about the Black Hills gold rush.

Those looking for more natural splendor will find wildlife ranging from bison to mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, and bighorn sheep just outside of town. Keystone is renowned for year-round outdoor adventure and breathtaking scenery. History buffs, adventure-seekers, and those seeking solitude will find plenty to see and do in the community of Keystone!