Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 7; Rockerville, SD, the ghost town surrounded by US Route 16

After leaving Mount Rushmore I headed east on South Dakota State Route 244 to US 16A near Keystone.  I traveled eastbound on US 16A to US 16 which headed towards I-90 near Rapid City.  Along the way I stopped in Rockerville a small ghost town in Pennington County located uniquely between the travel lanes of the US 16 expressway.


This blog post is the 7th in the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip series, Part 6 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 6; Mount Rushmore

Rockerville was founded during 1876 at the height of the Black Hills Gold Rush and reached a peak population of about 1,000 by 1880.  Rockerville would see a decline after mining had dwindled in the Black Hills until US 16 became a tourist destination to drive traffic to the Mount Rushmore Area.  US 16 originally traversed Rockerville along Main Street until the modern expressway bisected the community in the 1970s.  Oddly the US 16 expressway wasn't routed along a single side of Rockerville but rather split the community in half leaving Main Street largely intact.

Rockerville had been surviving off tourist traffic until the US 16 expressway was built.  All the road side attractions largely shuttered after US 16 was moved off of Main Street leaving a husk of former tourist traps scattered on the side of the road.






Part 8 of the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip series can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 8; Badlands National Park and former US 16A on SD 240

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99

Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway.  The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99.  The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California.  Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.   The history of the Midway Palm and Pine The true timeframe for when the Midway Palm and Pine (originally a Deadora Cedar Tree) were planted is unknown.  In fact the origin of the Midway Palm and Pine was referenced in California's Gold Episode #608 during which Huell Howser examined numerous points claimed to be the Center of California.  During Episode #608 Huell Howser interviews Caltrans employee Bob Thompson who emphasizes there wa

Erie Canal: Little Falls and Moss Island

  Little Falls, New York is a small city in the Mohawk Valley that has been shaped by the forces of water throughout its history. Nowhere in Little Falls is that more evident than at Moss Island. Representing the Industrial Age, this is home of Lock 17 the tallest lock along the Erie Canal, but there is also evidence of the Ice Age in the form of 40 foot deep glacial potholes from when there was an ancient waterfall that was even larger than Niagara Falls at this spot, once draining Glacial Lake Iroquois when other outlets (such as the St. Lawrence River) were blocked by retreating glaciers. While Little Falls does not have the amount of industry around the river and canal than it once had, checking out what Moss Island has to offer is a great way to see what the city has to offer. Visiting Moss Island allows you to experience the engineering marvel that is the Erie Canal plus the wonders of nature by taking a hike around the island and seeing the glacial potholes. A