Lead, South Dakota

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Lead (pronounced "leed"[5]) is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 3,027 at the 2000 census. Lead is located in western South Dakota, in the Black Hills near the Wyoming state line.



The city was officially founded on July 10, 1876, after the discovery of gold. It is the site of the Homestake Mine, the largest, deepest (8240 feet) and most productive gold mine in the Western Hemisphere before closing in January 2002. By 1910 Lead had a population of 8,382, making it the second largest town in South Dakota.[6]

Lead was originally founded as a company town by the Homestake Mining Company, which ran the nearby Homestake Mine. Phoebe Hearst, wife of one of the principals, was instrumental in making Lead more livable. She established the Hearst Free Public Library in town, and in 1900 the Hearst Free Kindergarten. She donated regularly to Lead's churches, and provided college scholarships to the children of mine and mill workers.[7]

Lead and the Homestake Mine have been selected as the site of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, a proposed NSF facility for low-background experiments on neutrinos, dark matter, and other nuclear physics topics, as well as biology and mine engineering studies.[8]

In 1974, most of Lead was added to the National Register of Historic Places under the name of the "Lead Historic District." Over four hundred buildings and 580 acres (230 ha) were included in the historic district, which has boundaries roughly equivalent to the city limits.[4]


Lead is located at 44°21′3″N 103°45′57″W / 44.35083°N 103.76583°W / 44.35083; -103.76583 (44.350967, -103.765784)[9].

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