LEAD | The investigation continues in the case of last summer’s vandalism causing an estimated $25,000 in damage to two historic brick structures southwest of Lead.
The buildings, called powder houses, were originally used to store explosives used for the former Homestake Gold Mine.
Bureau of Land Management investigators are tracking leads and conducting interviews, but that’s about the only update since last July, when the BLM offered a reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case, said Lori “Chip” Kimball, field officer for the BLM’s Belle Fourche office.
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Kimball.
“The reward of up to $1,000 is still out there. We haven’t pulled back on that,” she said.
The damage, discovered in June during a routine check of the buildings by a BLM employee, included a pair of gaping holes opened up in double-layer brick and mortar walls in the two of the three powder houses, and wood siding stripped from the interiors to fashion a make-shift bar in one of the buildings.
The BLM employee had originally found remnants of a party site outside the powder houses and found padlocks changed on steel and timbers doors to one of the houses. Restaurant-style booth seating had also been placed inside next to the crude bar.
The partiers returned, and finding their padlocks had in turn been replaced by the BLM, regained entrance by breaking through brick walls in two of the buildings, causing the most substantial damage.
Of greatest concern, Kimball said, was a 3-foot by 4-foot hole that reached to the roofline in a rear corner of one building.
Timbers were used to reinforce the wall in the hopes of preventing that corner of the building from crumbling further or even collapsing under the weight of winter snowfall.
“We were a little concerned that it might actually give way,” Kimball said.
Repairs and restoration of the buildings are scheduled for this summer once funding is secured, Kimball said.
A historic preservation team will patch the two holes, matching the vintage brickwork and replicating the mix of the mortar used to restore the buildings to their historic look.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get them in here this summer and get both problems fixed,” Kimball said.
She encouraged anyone with information on the vandalism to call 605-892-7025.