Looking out towards Mount Rushmore as you visit the Dances With Wolves
film set, you see much more as you browse along the boardwalk at Fort
Hays. Our Craftsmen work with their hands every day from 7:30 AM - 6:30
PM making handmade tools, ropes, bricks, plates and much more.
Fort Hays is more than just a set of buildings; it’s a trip back in time where you can see antiques that actually operate still today.You can find Black Hills Gold from Deadwood, make your own tin plate or brick, and even watch your own hunting knife take shape at the Blacksmith shop.
You’ll see all this as you visit our workshops and take pictures of yourself or the kids learning how things were made back in the old west.
Workshops Take You Back in Time
Brick Factory – Have your family name or any word you want put into an original hand made brick. We mix red dirt, red sand, and other ingredients pulled directly from the Black Hills into mud and pour them into our molds. Once they begin to set you can help by using original tintype letters to insert your word into your brick. After its dry enough for travel you can take your brick home with you to be admired by friends and relatives for years to come. See the Gift Shop for great brick gift ideas!
Tin Shop – Visit the Tin Shop and see how we make all our tin plates on a 100-year-old lathe. You can help make your own tin plate and even have it engraved by the tinsmith. This is a wonderful experience for visitors young and old as you learn through a little hands-on experience how tin plates were made in the old west. See the Gift Shop for great Tin Plate gift ideas! Perfect for family reunions and group events!
Post Office - Wander into the Post Office and see how many stamps you can count on the walls. Originally built in Provo, South Dakota, this post office still has the original boxes and walls with stamps dating back to the early 1900’s. See it for yourself!
Rope Shop – Put your hands on the handle and start turning the twine into rope as our Rope maker takes you back to the early days where you could make your own rope in just a few minutes. If you're looking for a lasso for the kids he’ll even show you how to create it and spin it. The walls are covered with old tools and many different types of rope crafts to purchase. See the Gift Shop for great rope gift ideas!
Blacksmith Shop – Meet Greg, our local blacksmith who works year round pounding, molding and shaping all kinds of metal into knives and other beautiful tools. Mixed in among the old style blacksmith tools on the walls are knives at different stages waiting for their next go-round. Greg specializes in hunting knives made from horseshoes that fit the palm of your hand and won’t slip away. Take a close look at any knife Greg has on display and you will see his personal touch gleaming right back at you. All the items in the blacksmith shop are great practical gift ideas for anyone who enjoys pure craftsmanship in their tools; see the Gift Shop for ideas!
Sawmill – The original sawmill steam engine from the movie Dances With Wolves powers many belt driven line shafts driving machines such as the giant saw blade that turns logs into shingles, corn cob grinder, the Penny Press and much more. Don’t forget to look for the details and see how many machines were powered in the 1800’s.
Penny Press – Powered by the belt driven line shaft from the steam engine, pennies are squeezed thin and imprinted with our Fort Hays Dances With Wolves emblem. All you have to do is provide the penny and a dollar to see it happen right before your eyes. Pressed pennies are collectors items and there is no other place in the world you can find these ones. See our Gift Shop for great Pressed Penny gift ideas! Gem Panning – Try your Luck and Potato Creek Ronnie’s Gem Panning Sluice. Pan for 50 different types gems, when work the sand and tailings like the miners did. Take home gems like calcite, rose quartz, obsidian, and orange citrine.