The Adams House was built in 1892. W. E. Adams bought it for his family around 1920.
Five years later, Adams lost his first wife, their daughter and granddaughter all within 48 hours.
“Deadwood is known to be more of a haunted town there’s a lot of evidence that proves that throughout the town, the Adam’s House and some other locations as well,” Rose Speirs, Communications Director for Deadwood History Inc., said.
Paranormal investigators often visit the Adams House.
“Two years ago I was in a room with one of the investigators Mo Miller and he asked me a question, so I stepped out into the hall, so I had walked away and we were in the master bedroom on the second floor and an EVP showed that said ‘Where is Rose going?’ and it was an old lady’s voice. There was no older woman on the investigation with us,” Speirs said.
Speirs says that the paranormal equipment goes crazy when the story is told of W. E. Adams losing his family.
“A terrific loss, better than any soap opera, it was the real deal and so at the urging of a second wife, built this museum in honor of them,” Darrel Nelson, Exhibits director for Deadwood History, said.
W. E. Adams was Mayor of Deadwood for 6 years. Because of the love he had for his family and the city, he built the museum in 1930 during the Great Depression.
“I think he knew like a lot of people did, that Deadwood had a really good story. It was the last big gold rush in the 48 states and I think they must’ve known that this is worth telling,” Nelson said.
While the Adams House is known for its ghosts, the Adams Museum has some signature exhibits of its own.
Some have been around since the museum opened such as the gold nugget, the two headed calf, and the 1879 train.
Other exhibits are interactive.
“My view is that’s the way to sneak into the imagination of people. People can read but when they actually touch and do something there’s another communication going on,” Nelson said.
“We are the oldest history museum in the Black Hills and we have three floors of exhibits that people can explore that tell everything from the beginning of the gold rush, up into the gaming into when it came to being in the 1980s, and so it’s full of all sorts of information for people to know about Deadwood and its history,” Carolyn Weber, Executive Director of Deadwood History Inc., said.
The city of Deadwood is on the national register of historic places. Weber says that’s why it’s so important to preserve the old west town and interpret it as best they can.
“Deadwood’s history is really emblematic of the human experience and the human condition, it’s full of all kinds of happiness and tragedies and triumphs and love and loss and it’s just got all kinds of twists and turns and surprises around every corner of its history, it’s really exciting,” Weber said.
“This is why people come to Deadwood, the history is paramount and without we have a lot of great things but the history is the part that makes it really special, unique,” Speirs said.
You may have heard about Wild Bill Hickok or Calamity Jane and maybe this is the first you’ve heard of Mr. Adams.
“W. E. Adams is in the forefront to all of us in Deadwood, but maybe not as well known throughout the state or throughout the country and he was equally as important and more important than Wild Bill Hickok or Calamity Jane,” Speirs said.
So next time you visit Deadwood, be sure to visit the Adams Museum and the Adams House… if you dare!