Allow me to tell you a very short story, folks.
I had heard about a large sculpture near I-90 in South Dakota of a skeleton man walking a skeleton dinosaur on a leash. However, the best shot of it is from the highway itself, so one either has to pull over on the highway or settle for bad, distant angles.
I was trying to prove this wrong. Perhaps there was a way on the other side of it? Google Maps showed a big, empty space, it was worth a shot.What I found on the way (IN the way, actually) was 1880 TOWN- 1-90, Exit 70, Midland, SD.
1880 Town is a small “village” made up of around 30 buildings all designed and outfitted to be from the 1880s. Before entering, there are a couple of cool buildings outside, such as the train diner. As the picture shows, it’s a diner that appears to take up an entire train. It was only open until 2pm, though.
The first building contains the gift shop and a museum with several era-appropriate artifacts. The upstairs displays movie sets and props from Dances with Wolves.
After the museum is the village itself. You can go in most of the buildings, and the ones you can’t have displays visible from the outside.
The Longhorn Saloon is one of the highlights. It’s through the saloon that you access the costume rental (yes, this is available for your western role-playing while exploring the town), and the saloon also sells popcorn and soda.
You are also allowed to see the upstairs. Well, we all know what’s upstairs in a saloon.
One of the fully authentic buildings in the town is a lodging house that boasts their staircase still has nicks and gouges on the stairs from cowboys’ spurs.
I highly recommend taking a couple of hours to walk through here. I took more pictures here than most of my other stops so far and it’s one of the few unplanned locations.
As an epilogue to my story, one source says that you can get pretty close to the skeleton man and dinosaur through the village. Well, this is not true. I walked all the way to the back edge of the village to find they have it fenced off. I doubt they want you hopping the fence to walk amongst the cattle and camels (yes, there is a camel. His name is Otis and apparently he loves popcorn!). So just for you readers, and because the highway happened to be empty (it IS South Dakota, after all!), I quickly pulled over on I-90 and snapped this picture.
I cannot find any history on this sculpture, so…. is it A- a tribute to the dinosaur fossils found in South Dakota, B- a tribute to the 1880s “ghost town” which it is walking towards, C- a caveman walking his pet dino when Dr. Who popped in with his sonic screwdriver and paralyzed them (can a sonic screwdriver do that? It can do everything else!), D- all of the above, E- some of the above, F- none of the above?!?
The world may never know, but there it is! Drive by them on your way to 1880 Town.
Until next time, dahlings…