Silverado Gaming Est. Acquires Deadwood’s Historic Franklin Hotel Print
DEADWOOD, S.D. (11/8/2005) – Silverado Gaming Est. & Restaurant today announced its acquisition of one of Deadwood’s landmarks – the Historic Franklin Hotel.

“This is an acquisition of one of Deadwood’s most enduring Main Street landmarks. The Franklin Hotel is the star of the West and it remains one of South Dakota’s true historical treasures,” Silverado Vice President and Managing Partner Tom Rensch said. “The Franklin’s location, directly across the street from the Silverado, made this a natural extension of our efforts to allow accommodations for our guests, and provide vacation packaging opportunities for prospective visitors to Deadwood and the Black Hills.”

In announcing the acquisition, Rensch lauded Franklin Managing Partner Bill Walsh for helping bring legalized gaming to Deadwood and for his continuous support of the community.

“Mr. Walsh is a member of the `Deadwood Seven’ and is directly responsible for the transformation of this community from a busted gold-rush town to a historic preservation miracle,” Rensch said. “We’re honored that he would let us carry on the great tradition he has established at the Franklin.”

The Franklin Hotel opened June 4, 1903. Built in Greek Revival-style and unlike other buildings of the era, the Franklin treated guests to telephones, running water, radiant heat and electricity in each room. Built at a then-astounding cost of $100,000, its exceptional architecture soon attracted guests including President Theodore Roosevelt, John Wayne, Pearl Buck, and Babe Ruth. More recently, the hotel has accommodated the Kennedys, Mary Hart and country singers Willie Nelson and Big & Rich, Walsh said.

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“For more than a century, the Historic Franklin Hotel has been the center of Deadwood’s cultural events, from poetry and book fairs to weddings and jazz festivals,” Walsh said. “The history of this hotel is phenomenal. Much of Deadwood’s history was carried on right in this wonderful hotel.”

Walsh and his wife have been involved with the hotel since 1980 and became majority owners in 1989. He said he would welcome the transition to Silverado ownership and the time it would allow him to concentrate on other ventures.

“I think everything has its time,” Walsh said this week. “We brought the hotel along as far as we could. Now is the perfect time for the Silverado operation, which I believe is one of the best in town, to take the Historic Franklin Hotel to its next level.

“I’m not going anywhere,” adds Walsh, who has owned Dakota Travel in Lead for 20 years. “I plan to stay involved with all of the wonderful projects that are on the drawing board for Deadwood and the Black Hills. For me, to have a few shekels in the bank and be able to spend more time with the most beautiful woman in the world – wouldn’t anyone want to do that?”

Rensch said his organization would begin a $7 million renovation of the property with the first phase concentrating on the main floor and later phases focusing on enhancing the hotel rooms.

“This acquisition is a great opportunity for the Silverado to take care of one of the greatest demands of our customers – staying in a hotel owned by the Silverado,” Rensch said. “Our investment in this unique property also will allow Deadwood to continue to be the number one ongoing historic preservation project in the U.S.”