Mt. Roosevelt is a relatively unknown attraction in the Black Hills and is home to the Friendship Tower. The tower was built by Deadwood lawman and businessman Seth Bullock to honor his long time friend Theodore Roosevelt. Prior to Roosevelt becoming President, he lived on his ranch in North Dakota. After meeting Seth Bullock, the two became close friends due to their passion for the great expanses of nature and the freedom associated with it. When Theodore Roosevelt became President, he appointed Seth Bullock Supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest.
Theodore Roosevelt died in January 1919. Seth Bullock was devasted. Bullock wanted to pay tribute to his good friend. In July 1919, only 5 months after Roosevelt’s death, the Friendship Tower was dedicated.
When Seth Bullock died in September of the same year, he was buried at the Mt. Moriah Cemetery atop Mt. Moriah in Deadwood. The location of his grave was chosen for its view of the Friendship Tower in the distance. Seth Bullock’s grave was also viewable from the top of the Friendship Tower. Decades of forest growth have made it almost impossible to view each monument from the other nowadays.
The tower recently underwent restoration and upgrades to allow it to be opened to the public once again. Just take highway 85 north out of Deadwood and look for the Mt Roosevelt sign immediately after the Lodge at Deadwood hotel and casino. A well maintained gravel road takes you about 2.5 miles to a parking area with toilet facilities. From the parking area, a 20-30 minute walk leads you to the Friendship Tower. At the tower site there are benches and picnic tables. From the top of the Friendship Tower it is possible to see four states. Such a unique attraction is well worth the visit.