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Victorian Era Cornice Restores Building to its Turn-of-the-Century Charm
Cornice re-created with custom High Density Polyurethane elements for the restoration of Nye’s Hall in Deadwood, South Dakota.

In the late 1800’s the town of Deadwood, SD was a growing and lively mining town, its residents brimming with dreams of striking it rich. People streamed into the Black Hills, mining for gold and taking advantage of the active gaming and entertainment businesses. The town attracted the likes of “Wild Bill” Hickok and Calamity Jane in this lawless era of the Wild West.
As the gold rush quieted, those who had prospered with their mining, began to construct buildings in the fashionable Victorian architecture styles of the times.
The rich history of Deadwood is a source of pride for its residents. The city is a popular tourist destination and, in 1961, became a National Historic Landmark. Nye’s Hall was named after it’s original owner, John Nye, and is now the home of Berg Jewelers. It is on the site of the first commercial building to be constructed on Main Street.
Many of the buildings in town have been modernized over the decades, the façades striped of their original ornamentation. Now there is an effort to bring back the turn-of-the-century character to Deadwood and preserve this iconic piece of American history.

We worked with Rangel Construction Company and Dave Stafford Architecture, both of Rapid City, SD, to re-create the elaborate Italianate cornice on Nye’s Hall. Without the benefit of having any of the original sheet metal cornice parts, we had to synthesize the architect’s drawings with the available historic photographs to produce the required shop drawings ultimately used to make custom molds.
We manufactured the blocks, mouldings, and Lion’s head keystones in High Density Polyurethane, a closed-cell synthetic material. Polyurethane is more cost effective than fiberglass and more durable and requires less maintenance than wood or metal. Once painted, it is indistinguishable from the original design elements. For these reasons, High Density Polyurethane is the perfect choice for historical restorations.
We are proud to have participated in the restoration of Nye’s Hall, helping to preserve the historic record of turn-of-the-century architecture in the American West.

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