Select Page

Historical Timeline

 The City of Lead’s timeline follows the development of the gold mining industry for the first 125 years.  The “gold rush” to the community resulted in a quickly growing community, with its successes, milestones and pitfalls.  Today, Lead is a brilliant community, continuing to support the mining industry and expanding into science, arts and outdoor recreation.

  • Lead, SD Founded 1876


    Gold discovered in Bobtail Gulch by Fred and Moses Manuel, Henry Harney and Alex Engh, claim sold to George Hearst who formed Homestake Mining Company, Lead City platted

  • 1879

    Lead City incorporates Washington and Golden areas, Homestake listed on NY Stock Exchange

  • 1889

    South Dakota admitted into union, simultaneously with North Dakota

  • 1894

    1894—Phoebe Hearst Library founded with 1,000 volumes in 11 languages

  • 1901

    Belt Power & Light Company installs lighting in Lead

  • Subsidence Lead, SD


    Open Cut subsidence begins, continuing for over 20 years, resulting in the relocation or removal of much of downtown Lead

  • 1914

    Homestake Opera House, Recreation Center, Hearst Library and Lead Central School completed.

  • 1941

    Fire destroys the downtown Hearst Mercantile Building, Homestake Yates Shaft completed

  • 1942-1945

    Gold mining at Homestake suspended, employees worked on war-related needs

  • 1974

    City of Lead listed in the National Register of Historic Places

  • 1984

    Fire destroys Homestake Opera House

  • 1998

    Due to low gold prices, Homestake cuts gold production by 50%, 500 employees laid off

  • 2002

    Homestake Gold Mine shuts down production

  • 2007

    The Homestake Mine selected by National Science Foundation as the site for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory

  • 2015

    Lead’s Main Street rebuilt

  • 2018

    Pre-excavation for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility is underway in Lead, South Dakota. LBNF will power the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), shooting an intense neutrino beam from Fermilab near Chicago straight through the earth 800 miles to detectors deep underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Courtesy Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory


Lead Historic Preservation

Lead City Hall
801 W Main St
Lead, SD 57754
(605) 581-1401