In 1884 Deadwood, H.B. Wardman built a small, one-story home for his family of four. With the passing of his wife, Wardman sold his business, moved his home, and began construction on a notably larger, Queen Anne-style home at the front of his new lot.
He finished construction in 1899, and the house became the family home. After 121 years, the house is now something different.
Tucked inside the Presidential District of Deadwood, the home—now the 1899 Inn bed and breakfast—is run by Tom and Nyla Griffith.
“It takes [guests] back in time and allows them to explore the history and mystery of not only Deadwood, but the Black Hills,” said Tom.
19th Century Suites
The inn has six units to offer and can house 18 guests comfortably. Each room has a different theme: Old Library Room, Music Room, Attic Suite, Maid’s Room, Writing Room, and Master Suite.
Tom says virtually all of the furniture in the inn is period-correct. From bedroom sets and couches to books and hutches, most of the furniture comes from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
“The whole house is stunning. It was designed by an architect out of Chicago,” said Nyla. “When you first come in, there’s a big grand staircase up to the second and third floors. The woodwork is incredible; the massiveness of the chunks of wood that form the staircase are impressive.”
But they always have to keep in mind how old the home is.
“With a 120-year-old house, there’s always something that needs to be fixed,” admitted Nyla.
Tom added, “There’s a different project every day.”
In the Old Library Room, the matching walnut bedroom set once belonged to Hank Frawley, a famous 19th-century Deadwood rancher and lawyer. Frawley brought the furniture to Deadwood in the 1880s in a covered wagon. Some of his law books can be found in the room as well.
For a decade, the inn was owned and operated by their son Dustin Floyd and his wife, Laura. The couple completed countless renovations during their ownership.
“When Dustin and Laura bought this years ago, it had been in foreclosure,” said Tom. “It had been vacant for two to three years. The bank had not heated it or drained the pipes, so every pipe had burst.”
Tom and Nyla say that along with the infrastructure fixes, like plumbing and electrical that came along with owning the house, Dustin and Laura had also restored many pieces, including light fixtures, doorknobs, and stained glass.
“They’re real purists when it comes to history,” explained Nyla.
And Tom agreed, chiming in, “They really tried to return the home to its original grandeur.”
Nyla and I have traveled to 80 countries, and we love the history, the architecture, the cuisine, the stories of the area’s past. But I think what we really remember are the connections we’ve made with people who actually live there.” -TOM
A Change of Scenery
When Dustin and Laura decided they didn’t want to run the inn anymore, Tom and Nyla stepped up and took over in June 2020.
“Tom and I had been doing some jobs that required a lot of mental effort, and we decided we’d like to do something different,” said Nyla. “We had had a bed and breakfast in the past, and we decided it’d be a great change for us.”
And a change it was. Both Nyla and Tom are authors of various books, and the couple says they spent much of their marriage traveling both for books and exploration.
“It works out really well because I run around and do breakfast. I make the food and serve everyone. Tom talks to them,” said Nyla. “He’s got the background. He’s got the ability to tell everyone about the Black Hills and the surrounding area, where they should be going, what they should be seeing.”
Here are some of Nyla’s staple breakfast items. Varying day to day, she also caters to special dietary needs.
Baked French Toast
+ Served with pork sausage and fresh fruit.
Biscuits and Gravy
+ Fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits served with Nyla’s pork sausage gravy, fruit, and eggs.
Ham and Swiss Frittata with Parmesan Crust
+ Served in a miniature Dutch oven with house-made sourdough bread and fruit.
Made to order. Ingredient choices vary, but can include peppers, spinach, mushrooms, onions, swiss, cheddar, bacon, and ham. Served with sourdough toast and fruit.
Pan-Seared Coconut Oats
Served with honey-poached blueberries or dates, sourdough toast, pork sausage, and fruit. Gluten and dairy free.
Southwest Breakfast Hash
Fried diced potatoes, onions, peppers, and pork sausage. Served with eggs, salsa, cheese, fruit, and a choice of sourdough toast or tortillas.
Breakfast and Tourism
Tom boasted, proud of his wife, “I have to put a kudos out to Nyla because she makes outstanding breakfasts.”
Nyla spends all day in the only modern part of the home, the kitchen, making gourmet food for guests to enjoy in the morning. She says the most time consuming part of the process is the fresh sourdough bread she makes from scratch every day.
“It takes all day to make two loaves, as it needs to be attended to every 30 minutes. We try to provide something that you’re not going to make yourself at home,” she said. “People seem really appreciative of the breakfast we make.”
Tom says breakfast also features jelly made from the grapes that grow on the front porch.
And while she mostly chooses the meals she focuses on, Nyla says she’s more than willing to make people food that conforms to their special dietary needs.
While guests are eating their breakfast, Tom says he loves to create travel itineraries and spend time chatting with guests.
“We enjoy visiting with them, learning a little bit about them, what intrigues them, what excites them so we can actually tailor a plan for their trip,” he explained.
Tom says that time with guests is his favorite part of running the 1899 Inn, explaining though, “Not just to help them form a travel itinerary for the day, but to give them a sense of who we are, what this inn is about, and the colorful characters who have inhabited this place in the past.”