Visiting The Gordon Stockade
- Date Visited: August 12, 2021
- Address: 12653, US-16A, Custer, SD 57730
- GPS: 43.76983, -103.53071
- Hours: 24/7
- Price: Free
The Gordon Stockade is located off Highway 16A just inside the west entrance of Custer State Park on the shores of Stockade Lake.
The original stockade was built in six weeks by the Gordon Party during the winter of 1874-1975. John Gordon was the appointed leader of the twenty-eight prospectors that made up the group.
The stockade was eventually rebuilt in 1925 and again in 1941. The replica that stands there today was completed in 2004.
The Gordon party was in search of gold in the Black Hills, but under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie this area belonged to the Plains Indians. White settlement was prohibited, but they didn’t want to leave so they built the stockade for protection.
The stockade originally consisted of seven small cabins with fireplaces. Ponderosa pine logs were used to construct the walls which measured approximately 10′ high with sides 40′ by 40′. A single entrance gate and four firing bastions, one at each corner, provided additional protection.
In 1875 though, after only five months, they were discovered by Captain John Mix and members of the 2nd U.S. Cavalary. The group was forced to leave and taken to Fort Laramie. The stockade was then used as a temporary home for the army guarding the surrounding area.
When you visit interpretive signs along your path tell the story of the stockades occupation during the winter of 1874 into 1875. Although there are historical cabins inside that are off-limits replica cabins to your left are fully accessible. You can walk inside the stockade and explore the interior of these cabins.
The Gordon Stockade is a great stop to learn a little area history while visiting Custer State Park. It won’t take long to visit and there’s a large parking lot with restrooms as well.