The Gordon Stockade
The search for gold
In the summer of 1874, an expedition led by Lt. Colonel George A. Custer discovered gold in the Black Hills. Under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, however, this region belonged to the Plains Indians, and white settlement was not allowed.
Word of the discovery spread quickly, and a group of gold seekers from Sioux City, Iowa, moved into the Black Hills the following winter. Upon their arrival, the Gordon Party built a log fortress on the bank of French Creek to protect themselves from possible Lakota attacks.
The Gordon Party's stay was short lived and not very profitable. Within five months, they were removed from the Black Hills by the US Cavalry.
Following their eviction, a flow of fortune seekers came to these newly discovered mountains of gold. It was more than the army could control and within two years, nearly 10,000 settlers illegally inhabited the Black Hills.
Today's Gordon Stockade is the third replica built on the original site. The first was constructed by the citizens of Custer in 1925, and in 1941, the Civilian Conservation Corpsmen from Camp Narrows rebuilt the entire structure. Through the years, the outer walls and cabins weathered away until the park had to close the Stockade in the late 1990s due to visitor safety concerns.
Because the Stockade played a role in the history of the Black Hills, the park formed the Gordon Stockade Advisory Committee to help direct the long-term outcome of this historical landmark. Working together, the park and local advisory committee secured funding to once again reconstruct the Gordon Stockade.
Today, as you approach the Gordon Stockade, interpretive signs tell the story of this short lived illegal occupation in 1874 and 1875.
Located off Highway 16A just inside the park's west entrance.