Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower construction nearly complete
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.