See silver spoons that traveled on the Mayflower in 1620 and antique saddles by the Duhamel Co., the nation’s largest producer of saddles by 1914, at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center in Belle Fourche, S.D.
Along with permanent exhibits, the museum has rotating temporary exhibits for visitors. Outside, there’s also a historic two-story cabin built in 1876 by a pioneer named Johnny Spaulding who traveled to the area during the gold rush in 1876. A hunter and a guide, Spaulding eventually moved to California. But his cabin, made with hand-hewn logs from the hills between Deadwood and Crook City, has withstood the test of time, even being relocated several times before being moved next to the museum.
Don't miss the monument marking Belle Fourche as the geographic center of the nation. Take a walk around it and get a selfie there. Admission is free to the museum, cabin and monument.
To really enjoy the experience, walk four blocks from the museum to Green Bean Coffeehouse and order lunch to go, so you can eat on the museum’s shaded property.
Located in a green Victorian-era home, the coffeehouse, at 710 State St., serves salads, wraps, sandwiches and scones. The building was purchased back in the day by a saloonkeeper whose wife collected dimes in the saloon to pay for it. Don’t leave without a latté made with air-roasted Kaladi Coffee. Then stroll back to the museum and sit at one of the picnic tables.
Tip: Contrary to the way it is spelled, Belle Fourche is actually pronounced “Bell Foosh.” It means “beautiful fork” in French, commemorating the confluence of Redwater River, Belle Fourche River and Hay Creek.
For more information:
Belle Fourche Chamber
415 5th Ave, Belle Fourche, SD 57717