The final chapter of Blackwood development occurs in 1886,
the year of the "Great White Ruin", a terrible winter that left
300 people dead on the Great Plains (along with thousands of cattle).
The combination of a heavy winter snow and an extremely wet
spring causes the Black River to slowly overflow its banks and
inundate the town. Virtually every home and business is damaged
by the flood, and few of the townsfolk remain to rebuild. The
call of the west is strong, and most people pack up and venture
into the new frontier. By the fall of 1886 Blackwood is once
again a small and remote town; a mere whistle stop on the rail line
- 1858: first pioneers arrive and settle near
- 1869 Town of Blackwood established.
- 1872 Fort Wood and Trading Post built.
- 1873 First Riverboat arrives in Blackwood and a
riverboat landing is built.
- 1880 Spring: Blackwood historical
- 1880 Spring: Lumber Town is established southeast of
- 1880 Fall: Railroad is completed as far as Lumber Town.
- 1881 Fall: The Blackwood Section is completed all the
way to town and a depot is built near the riverboat landing.
- 1882 Silver is discovered in the hills northeast of
- 1882 News arrives that the railroad is suspending
further westward construction due to financial problems (many
workers settle in Blackwood and become teamsters or miners, some
- 1883 A collection of businesses called the Western
Outpost springs up, one day's ride outside of Blackwood.
- 1884 The Blackwood Silver Rush ends as the mines are
- 1885 Nov-Dec: the Great White Ruin begins: the worst winter in
- 1886 Jan-Mar: the Great White Ruin continues with the
coldest temperatures and heaviest snow on record.
- 1886 April: the Black River rises to record heights
in the worst Spring flood ever witnessed. The town of Blackwood
is inundated. Miraculously no lives are lost, but the town is
almost totally destroyed.
- 1886 Spring: Blackwood historical
Last modified: 29Dec98
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