HILL CITY, S.D. — North of Hill City lies a piece of South Dakota history that has not always been there before.
Tucked away in the Central Black Hills lies Miller Cabin, one of the oldest structures in the area.
At the time of its build, the cabin sat in an area that now is the location of Deerfield Reservoir, owned by Deerfield founder John A. Miller and his family. When the land was auctioned off for the development of the reservoir, a separate family purchased the cabin and had it moved by ox to its current location north of Castle Creek.
From there, the cabin served different purposes among different owners, including a summer home and even a wedding venue.
Janie Knutson, Mystic District Archaeologist, has been working on efforts to preserve the cabin along with other sites in the Black Hills.
“Every year, we circle back to important sites in the Black Hills,” Knutson states. “We call them our priority heritage assets.”
The building currently remains in its Central Black Hills location, where archaeologists like Knutson have been working to maintain and preserve the structure along with the surrounding property.
During more recent observations and monitoring, issues with the porch and internal space arose, prompting swift action on the cabin.
“We discovered that the porch had slumped and had fallen off of its foundation” she explained. “And that a lot of birds and wildlife had infiltrated the building.”
After the Regional Forest Service office provided necessary funds for the project, archaeologists from both the Mystic and Hell Canyon Ranger Districts spent four days fixing the porch along with completing other important maintenance work on the cabin.
The main goal is to preserve Miller Cabin for future generations and the significance to the area.
“Really, what we’re trying to do now that we’ve done some repairs,” Knutson explained, “is try to get people interested in coming out here because it is something that is a treasure to the Black Hills.”
Miller Cabin is located North of Hill City, about one mile from Kinney Canyon Walk-In Fishery off of Slate Prairie Road by Deerfield Reservoir.