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Friendship Tower in Deadwood

In Deadwood, South Dakota, Seth Bullock made history as the town's first sheriff. His bond with Theodore Roosevelt began in 1892 during Roosevelt's Dakotas expedition. Over time, their friendship deepened: Bullock even served with Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War and ardently supported his 1900 presidential campaign.

After Roosevelt's death in 1919, Bullock was determined to honor his friend's legacy in Deadwood. Collaborating with the Society of Black Hills Pioneers, he led efforts to rename Sheep Mountain to Mount Theodore Roosevelt and oversaw the construction of the "Friendship Tower," strategically positioned to overlook Bullock's family resting place and the town.

Their initial meeting was memorable. Roosevelt, resembling a suspicious gambler, encountered a wary Bullock. Initially mistaken for a criminal, Roosevelt soon won Bullock over with introductions, sparking a lifelong friendship. Today, visitors can hike to the tower, ascending stairs to enjoy breathtaking vistas of the Black Hills. Educational plaques along the way narrate their remarkable bond.

Just outside Deadwood, the Mt. Roosevelt Memorial (also known as "The Friendship Tower") stands as a physical testament to their friendship. After Roosevelt's death, Bullock arranged for the tower's construction as a memorial. Bullock died only months after its dedication, with two final requests: that his tombstone feature only one word ("Pioneer"), and that his grave be high enough on the hill of Mount Moriah Cemetery to have a clear view of Mount Roosevelt.

Roosevelt once hailed Bullock as the epitome of Western valor, a sentiment echoed by many. Mount Roosevelt is located just 2.5 miles from downtown Deadwood, accessible via Highway 85 and FSR 133. The uphill trail offers a manageable trek amid scenic beauty. The tower stands as a tribute to enduring friendship, offering visitors a nostalgic glimpse into history.

Deadwood, SD 57732