Emily

Preston, South Dakota USA

Who are you and what do you do?
'My name is Emily. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota in the spring of 2018. I have always loved the area and wanted to live there, and enjoy being closer to the mountains in Montana and Wyoming. I love anything outside! Hiking, camping, outdoor photography, and horseback riding are my main hobbies. I’m a waitress at a busy restaurant in my small town.'

Why do you choose to live in Preston?
'I don’t live in Preston, because nobody has lived there for almost 100 years! I live eight miles east of Preston in the town of Lead, which also has a rich mining history. Preston was founded in 1897 and the gold mines played out by 1915. I love to find abandoned buildings and ghost towns. Preston’s elevation is about 6,000 feet above sea level and is best accessed with all-wheel drive.'

What's your favourite place in Preston and why?
'My favorite place is a tough choice between the old three-story boarding house and the small cemetery. I like to imagine all of the people who stayed at the boarding house while they passed through the area or worked at the mine, and all of the hard conditions they endured. Inevitably some did not make it, and were buried in the nearby cemetery. Between the harsh winters, the dangers of mining, and the pushback from the indigenous people who inhabited the area before gold-seekers came, it’s interesting to think about the risks that were taken in order to strike it rich.'

What is Preston proud of?
'Preston produced almost 50,000 ounces of gold for one of the mining companies in just six short years. This area of several mining towns was called Ragged Top, named after the nearby mountain. All have been abandoned long ago, and most have no remaining buildings or signs of the past.'

Tell us something about Preston that people won't know?
'Local lore says that in the mid-1890s Mr. Preston noticed a chunk of gold in the hoof of his horse, and that’s how the gold exploration began. There was also a town newspaper for a short time, which was called the Ragged Top Shaft.'