Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower construction nearly complete

Mount Roosevelt or Friendship Tower was built by Seth Bullock in 1919 in honor of his friend President Theodore Roosevelt. Bullock wanted to create a memorial of his friend’s life and a place where people could view wide open spaces (the “Big Lonesome”) that both Bullock and Roosevelt had become so fond of during their lives. (Photo by Frank Carroll/Black Hills National Forest)From the U.S. Forest Service:

Spearfish, SD – Mount Roosevelt, also called Friendship Tower, has been undergoing construction to reinforce the base and fully restore the monument for public use. The restoration work is nearing completion.

Box Elder Job Corps students and a stone mason specializing in historical restoration, worked last summer to restore and repair the original rock masonry of the Tower.  “The goal of the restoration effort is to ensure the long-term integrity of the structure,” said Marissa Karchut, North Zone Archaeologist, Black Hills National Forest.

Karchut said a foundation was constructed under the base to help direct drainage away from the tower and the stairs were reconstructed to make the structure compliant with current federal safety standards. “A removable roof will be built over the parapet to divert water and snow runoff away from the top of the Tower, a situation which was contributing to the monument’s deterioration,” said Karchut.

The Tower was built by Seth Bullock in 1919 in honor of his friend President Theodore Roosevelt. Bullock wanted to create a memorial of his friend’s life and a place where people could view wide open spaces (the “Big Lonesome”) that both Bullock and Roosevelt had become so fond of during their lives. Bullock was Deadwood’s first sheriff, founded the town of Belle Fourche, and was a U.S. Marshal for South Dakota.  He was also an early forest supervisor on the Black Hills National Forest, appointed to the task by President Roosevelt.

“We are preserving this monument for our kids and grandkids,” said Karchut.

Karchut said installation of interpretive signs will be put up later this fall.
 
The restoration work on the tower was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
 
For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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