Save a century's worth of history with a single gesture.

What is the Black Hills Historic Preservation Trust?

The Black Hills Historic Preservation Trust is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation whose primary purpose is to advocate for and provide for the preservation and protection of historic sites in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The Black Hills Historic Preservation Trust, Inc. is an example of how private citizens can come together to work with public and governmental institutions, creating change for the betterment of our society. It is a model of the challenges, the rewards, the joys, and the satisfaction of volunteerism at its best.

Skip Tillisch, a retired optometrist from Hill City, South Dakota had some strong opinions about a collapsing mill frame near his town that was in danger of being torn down. He and other community members, were tossing around ideas about how to protect this impressive structure for future generations.

Jon Crane, a local watercolor artist doing business in Hill City, also had some strong opinions about the need to preserve the endangered buildings on the Meeker Ranch near Custer, South Dakota. He, along with a strong groundswell of public opinion rising up from his protestations, gained the ear of those responsible for the property.

The United States Forest Service, guardians of both properties, heard the outcries coming from the public, guided by Skip and Jon, and responded positively to the need to create a plan for historic preservation of these specific properties. Encouraged by the USFS to work together toward this goal, Skip, Jon, and a hearty band of interested citizens did come together to form the not-for-profit organization, the Black Hills Historic Preservation Trust, Inc. (BHHPT). Since 2008, the US Forest Service and BHHPT have linked arms with other entities to ensure that significant historic sites on public lands in the Black Hills are maintained for future generations.

How does it work?

Funds for our preservation efforts are received through donations and in-kind public support.

We also pursue match grants with the help of like-minded partners that include the Rocky Mountain Region of the US Forest Service, Mystic Ranger District and Hell Canyon District of the US Forest Service, and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission.

15% of all Jon Crane Meeker Ranch Giclee series sales will be received as direct funding toward our general preservation efforts.