By the mid-1890s Deadwood city officials deemed it necessary to purchase a tract of land to be used for recreation and enjoyment by its citizens. Almost fifteen years elapsed before Deadwood's first city park was created. The park surrounding you was the result of these early efforts.
In 1911, a devastating fire leveled many buildings along Sherman Street including those structures that now make up this park. The City and the Deadwood Business Club purchased the land after a public vote. Construction of the park and the adjacent Deadwood Auditorium (Recreation Center) began in the fall of 1912 under the direction off Mayor William E. Adams. Upon its completion one year later, this park was the first of seven parks that are now within Deadwood's city limits.
As part of the park beautification, the City received a ten-inch shell from the Battleship USS Maine in May of 1912. Though intended to be placed on public display in the park, ninety-eight years elapsed before the shell was rediscovered by the City Archives in front of the old Deadwood High School. In 2012, the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission erected the USS Main memorial in the park to commemorate the 100th anniversary of acquiring the piece from the USS Maine.
In the summer of 1938, the Goldberg Family placed a sundial memorial
in the park in memory of Jacob Goldberg and Deadwood's pioneers. In 1977, the park was officially named Richard Gordon Memorial Park after the longtime resident, Deadwood School Superintendent and supporter of the Deadwood Recreation Center and 76ers Swim Team. Today, Gordon Park continues to serve the Deadwood community through its many amenities.
[Photo captions; top right and bottom left]
1880 photograph showing a portion of South Deadwood and the future location of Deadwood's first city park. The black lines denote the location of the park boundary and Deadwood Auditorium (Recreation Center).
Photograph of Deadwood's first city park, circa 1940.