Birth of a National Park - A Decision is Made

Historic faded photograph of visitors waiting at the Cave House to Wind Cave
Visitors waiting at the Cave House to Wind Cave

NPS Photo Archive

On December 7, 1900 the Department of Interior announced:

A Washington special says that Secretary of the Interior has affirmed the land office decision in the case of the South Dakota Mining Co. and the Black Hills Wind Cave Co. against Jesse D. McDonald.

Historic faded scanned image of Elmer McDonald's Business Card
Elmer McDonald Business Card

NPS Photo

The decision declares that neither party is entitled to it, that in the first place it is not mineral land and the plaintiff therefore has no claim to it and in the second place McDonald did not comply with the law relating to the cultivation and his entry is held for cancellation. The secretary also directs that the land be held in reserve until congress shall have had an opportunity to create a permanent reservation there.

The land was withdrawn from settlement January 18, 1900. On September 12, 1902 Captain Seth Bullock, became the supervisor of the Wind Cave.

Historic sepia-toned photograph of Wind Cave National Park's First Visitor Center
Wind Cave National Park's First Visitor Center

NPS Photo

The Pioneer-Times reported: Capt. Bullock appointed George Stabler and wife, Elmer McDonald and Peter Paulson as guides and has furnished the following rules:

  • The cave will be open to visitors from 9 am until 5 pm. Night excursions will not be allowed.
  • No vandalism or spoliation of the Cave or its natural beauties will be permitted.
  • The guides will be held responsible for the safety of visitors and prevention of spoliation.
  • The guides will be permitted to charge the usual fee of fifty cents for each person they conduct through the cave.
  • No disorderly characters will be admitted to the cave at any time.
  • The hotel concession has been granted to George Stabler and wife.

Last updated: February 21, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


(605) 745-4600

Contact Us