Custer’s 1881 Courthouse Museum stands tall for 138 years
CUSTER, S.D. — History is all around in Custer and that includes the 1881 Courthouse Museum.
The building with its brick and columns has stood tall at the corner of Mt. Rushmore Rd. and 4th St. for 138 years.
The courthouse has stood through trying times of the late 1800’s, seeing transition from Dakota Territory Days to statehood; even surviving riots on Custer streets.
When built, the building cost about $10,000 but just a decade later, two additional wings cost the town roughly $11,000. Due to inflation, the price skyrocketed for the smaller additions.
The building of the new courthouse almost led to the demise of the historic courthouse. In lieu of tearing down a 100+ year old building, it became a museum in the 1970’s.
Now, the building and its contents bring in visitors from all over the world.
“We have a great number of people that come from overseas,” said Gary Enright, director of the 1881 Courthouse Museum. “About 25 to 30 counties are represented in our sign in. People from all over the world are familiar with Custer and the information contained in this building.”
The museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Enright says they will be participating in all of the events coming to Custer this July.
Enright says over 100 volunteers in the Custer community donate their time to greet people who visit the museum.