Hill City originated as a mining camp in 1876 and was the second town founded in the Black Hills. Many of the early settlers called the town Hillyo, which was a small cluster of log cabins. When the fabled rich deposits of gold near Deadwood Gulch beckoned, most of Hill City’s population led to make their fortune. Only one man, Joseph McClure and his dog remained behind, and it is said that Hill City was saved by one man and his dog. Hill City almost ended then, but the town hung on and eventually prospered.
1885 Steakhouse & Saloon has a colorful and interesting past. This building is listed on the National Register as the oldest commercial hand-hewn log building in continuous use in South Dakota. Built in 1885 by the German immigrant Camillo Von Woehrmann as a saloon and boarding house. In 1890 Mr. Woehrmann began publishing the Harney Peak Mining New, a weekly paper, which continued for over 30 years. The building has survived two fires, which destroyed major portions of the town. In 1891 when a fire took numerous buildings in Hill City, a group of railroad workers headed up by their foreman, using heavy 2” ropes attempted to pull the building down to use as a firebreak, but the stout construction of the building merely broke the ropes, leaving the building standing. The fire was eventually contained and stopped just south of the VonWoehrmann building.
1885 Steakhouse & Saloon shares a rich history with Hallsted’s Garage, White’s Auto Repair, Mel’s Fly Shop, Wolf’s Western Traders, Hill City Mercantile and Desperados. Most of these names will not sound familiar when you talk about Hill City or the over a century of history deeply rooted in this community. Yet these were all thriving businesses that have called the original Von Woehrmann building home over the past decades.
1885 Steakhouse & Saloon on the corner of McGregor & Main Street in Hill City now proudly takes its place in the long line of businesses to continue on the tradition started over 138 years ago. Hill City is the heart of the Black Hills and the historic Woehrmann is a piece of Hill City history.
We strive to make your visit to our corner of the world a lovely experience. As you are visiting and dining with us look at the beautiful hand-hewn logs on the north and south walls of the main dining area. Just imagine if these walls could talk, what kind of stories would they tell? Let us continue to give these walls stories to tell decades from now.
Most of the information we have found on the building and Hill City can be found in Hill City Then and Now by Ed Gerken