Where the Gold Rush Began
Located in the heart of the southern Black Hills, Custer is a popular tourism destination, hosting many of the millions of people who visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument and the 1.2 million acre Black Hills National Forest.
The 110-mile Mickelson Trial, a rails-to-trails project on the former Burlington Northern rail line, hosts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year. The trail runs through Custer, and offers a side trip to nearby Custer State Park.
Originally it was gold that brought the first settlers to the peaceful valley along French Creek. The 1874 Custer Expedition discovered gold in the creek, touching off the 1876 Black Hills Gold Rush.Through its history, the city of Custer has thrived in part on the natural resources of the Black Hills. Logging, timber and grazing remain economic engines in the Custer region.
In addition, mining companies such as Pacer Corp. extract a variety of industrial minerals from the nearby hills. Area companies refine and sell products such as high-quality muscovite mica and potash feldspar. The minerals are used in adhesives, fire retardants, caulks, sealants, powder coatings, plastics, drywall joint compound and a variety of automotive applications. Black Hills mica is also used in oil-and-gas drilling industry.