Traveling across South Dakota on Interstate 90, just west of Murdo, a small town suddenly bursts into view from the highway. Many towns dot the landscape of the main road that spans South Dakota, so what makes this one so unique? Welcome to 1880 Town, an authentic 1880 to 1920 era town of buildings and artifacts.
In 1969, Richard Hullinger bought 14 acres of land at Exit 170 and had no plans of building an attraction but it was around this time that a movie company arrived in a nearby town to film an 1880 era movie. A set was constructed from old buildings, with many Indian relics and antiques being borrowed from Clarence Hullinger, Richard’s father. Filming was eventually abandoned when winter set in and the collection of buildings was given to Clarence for the use of his artifacts. The movie set was then moved to the land that Richard had purchased and the 1880 Town was established.
My South Dakota travel plans originally included a stop at 1880 Town, but I decided against it as I had already made too many roadside stops on my journey from Minneapolis to Rapid City. The weather couldn’t decide between sun and clouds that day, but had finally settled into a ominous, stormy sky when I raced over a slight South Dakota hill. That’s when 1880 Town lay sprawled before me and in that moment my plans changed. There was no way I could pass up photos of an old Western town with such a perfect stormy sky! I quickly exited Interstate 90, paid the admission, and was soon transported to the Old West. Here’s a quick photographic tour of 1880 Town for you to enjoy…
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