Once a courthouse, the building was retired and converted into a museum after a new courthouse building was completed in 1975.
This beautiful building was the hub of Custer County development from 1881 to 1974. It was used as a meeting place for church services, socials, community activities, and of course, a center for the local government. The courthouse was built in 1990 with bricks from a local kiln 8 years before South Dakota became a state. When the new courthouse was completed in 1975, the current building was left vacant. It stands now thanks to the Custer County Historical Society and portrays the history of the Southern Black Hills.
The museum opened on Memorial Day weekend in 1976. It features various Native American items, a General Custer Expedition exhibit, mining and mineral displays, an exhibit on Victorian life, women at work display, a one-room schoolhouse, a military room, and a forestry room. Don't forget to look at the ranch room, research library, and courtroom in its original cherry wood furniture. There is also a General Store on the ground floor of the building with fun items to purchase and an area where visitors can see the original jail cells along with the Custer City law enforcement officer display. After touring the 1881 Courthouse Museum, take a short walk across the street in Way Park to see The Flick Cabin built in 1875. This is the oldest building in the Black Hills.