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The Deadwood Armory is all gone now, the demolition which began last week left nothing but a few steps up to a concrete slab.

And a lot of memories.

Soon enough the lot where the Armory, also known as the Deadwood Pavilion, stood will be a parking lot.

Since its opening in 1955 and throughout the years, the Armory was the site of physical education classes, sporting events, concerts, dances, graduation ceremonies and community happenings.

A a freshman high school football player for the Deadwood Bears in 1962, John Keene would suit up in the armory not far from the high school and ran and walked down to football practice at Ferguson Field.

After practice, players ran (and walked) back to the Armory.

"The showers were always cold," recalled Keene, a 1965 Deadwood graduate.

Rick Burrington recalls morning high school band practice with Mr. LaVerne Clark, in the building revered from a start as a civic landmark.

"When it first opened up, everybody thought the Armory was the Taj Mahal,” he said.

The Armory served as the home court for the Deadwood Bears boys basketball teams, as well as a playground for stellar athletes from around the Black Hills area.

One was John Dutton of the Rapid City Cathedral Gaels, who went on to have a storied football career at University of Nebraska and in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts and Dallas Cowboys.

"It's a sad day. I understand why they are tearing it down," said Mel Maynard, a 1970 DHS graduate. "I spent a lot of time there. My dad was a janitor."

Maynard, who played basketball for the Bears, recalls on-court showdowns with then-Twin City rival Lead and games against Belle Fourche.

Deadwood had Mike Caretto, Bill Pearson, Andy Pearson, Dave Pearson, Dean Wagner and Randy Porterfield. Lead countered with Mike Wells, Dennis Sherbon, Al Varland, Rick Varland and Mike Feterl.

Belle Fourche had the Nickelsons and Graslies. Several of those players went on to play college basketball, he said.

"That place was always hopping. We had some unbelievable games. Deadwood was always competitive, a lot of good memories,” Maynard said.

Maynard’s class was the next to last to graduate from Deadwood High School. Sixty-plus students received their diplomas in the last DHS graduating class in May of 1971.

Lead and Deadwood merged into a single high school in the fall of 1971. The Golddiggers played their initial home boys basketball games in Deadwood until relocating to a gym in Lead.

A memorable game was an upset of the Douglas Patriots and Rich and Ron Hern.

"Our eighth-grade graduation was held at the Armory," said Jeneen Mack. "We played the majority of our home basketball games at the Deadwood Armory. Our seventh and eighth teams were undefeated.”

She and future husband Eugene had their commencement exercises in the Armory in 1986, she said.

Jim Phillips played basketball in the Armory and later refereed more than 100 junior high and high school games there. He knew the Armory, including its quirks, as well as anyone.

“One of my memories was the east basket was three inches shorter than the west basket,” Phillips said.

Phillips also taught physical education and life skills for six years in the Armory. "We had co-ed physical education with 40 kids in class, a lot of good kids," said Phillips.

The building also was home to the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center and Deadwood Economic Development. There was also a gun range, home to National Rifle Association classes.

"I refereed a ton of basketball games, including the Cartwright tournament, in the Armory," said former Chamber director George Milos.

He said the Armory hosted music concerts, including B.J. Thomas, Little River Band, Coasters, Drifters, Grass Roots, Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Myron Floren, an accordionist of Lawrence Welk fame. Brule and Gordie Pratt held Christmas concerts there.

"They had pool tournaments, wrestling tournaments and boxing matches. The Harlem Globetrotters played there. (1964 Olympic gold medalist) Billy Mills spoke there,” Milos said.

In the early years of the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon and Half-Marathon, in conjunction with the event, Jeff Galloway, a former Olympian, spoke on his training system for runners, Run-Walk-Run, at the Armory.

Indoor high school sporting events have long moved to Lead-Deadwood High School in Lead. One of the last events at the Armory was a boxing card about a decade ago.

Concerts and other entertainment events can be found at the nearby Deadwood Mountain Grand and other Deadwood venues.

The Chamber and other offices have found new homes as well, leaving the Armory with a storied past, but not much of a future, except as a parking lot.

"The Armory was a good old soldier and served its purpose over the years," said Phillips.

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