This is Hillhead, in Marshall County, about 18 miles northeast of Britton, South Dakota. I’ve seen references to Hillhead, South Dakota online in which it’s listed as a ghost town, and technically it is since the remaining original buildings have been abandoned, but there are inhabited dwellings in the immediate vicinity of the old town site.
As the name suggests, this town is right on top of a hill. Hillhead was originally named Airmont, later changed to Hilltop, then changed again to Hillhead to avoid confusion with other towns that had similar names.
The building shown above was Hillhead’s general store.
This house is just a short walk down the hill. It’s located down in the ravine and the trees have been growing up around it. The road leaves a person standing about shoulder-level with the top of the house and gives you the impression the old home is slowly sinking into the earth and getting consumed by foliage.
Hillhead has some interesting local folklore, including tales about thirties-era gangsters, maybe even Pretty Boy Floyd himself, spending time in town. You can read more about it in an Argus Leader piece from Brenda Wade Schmidt first published in 2004, and reprinted here.
In the photo above, you can see the remains of three properties… the house and garage in the foreground, the dark, weathered house right in the center, and way in the back, between the power pole and the garage, you can see the roof of a collapsed house with a chimney sticking up out of it.
I would find out after I left that I missed the old schoolhouse, hidden in the foliage, just down the road, so when I returned in 2015, I made a point to get a couple shots.
What do you know about Hillhead, South Dakota? Please leave a comment below.
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC