Infamous Deadwood: Solomon “Sol” Star
Solomon Star was born in Bavaria but moved to the United States at the age of 10 to work in his uncle’s Ohio store. He later moved west opening his own store in Montana where he met Seth Bullock. The two quickly became friends and business partners, moving to Deadwood in 1876 to capitalize on the construction boom of the gold rush town. They opened their hardware store under a tent located on Main Street. They later built a permanent structure that would be destroyed, along with the rest of the town’s business district, by a raging fire in 1894. Star and Bullock decided not to rebuild the store but to build a luxury hotel in Deadwood on the site.
The Bullock Hotel, which still stands on Main Street, included steam heat and indoor plumbing. Star and Bullock also invested in a cattle ranching business that is credited with helping put the small town of Belle Fourche (north of Deadwood) on the map.
Along with his business ventures, Sol Star was also a dedicated public servant. He served on the first Deadwood town council, was the postmaster in 1877 and later served ten terms (14 years total) as Deadwood’s Mayor. He also served as a Republican Senator shortly after South Dakota gained statehood. Despite all of his success and political power, Sol Star never married and died alone on his ranch in 1917. He is buried in St. Louis, MO.