Whitewood was platted in 1887 and officially became a town in 1888 after the Pioneer Townsite Company purchased the townsite of Whitewood in 1877 from William Selbie. The railroad brought many people into Whitewood when a line was built from Rapid City to Whitewood in 1887. The area's agricultural production of wheat, oats and dairy cattle allowed for trade with the area mining camps. In 1890, Seth Bullock helped convince the Freemont, Missouri Valley and Elkhorn Railroad to build a track from Whitewood to Deadwood. That same year, the railroad also built a track to Belle Fourche and St. Onge. Flour milling was a major industry in Whitewood during the 1800's throughout the 1900's. T.O. Mitchell and T.W. Thompson built Whitewood Roller Mills, and by 1904, the mill was making 60 barrels of flour a day. Whitewood Valley was also known for it's fruit that included raspberries, plums, strawberries, cherries, and currants.
P.M. Bonniwell arrived in the Black Hills with his wife Lura in 1880 working at a Homestake Mine Lumber near deadwood while Lura was the cook for the logging crew and taught school. P.M. and Lura saved enough money and moved to Minnesula in Butte county. After raising their own cattle, P.M. and Lura made there way to Whitewood in 1898 where P.M. operated a harness shop and eventually built the Boniwell Building in 1904. The Boniwell Building was used as a harness shop and hardware store on the first floor and the second floor was a dance hall.
P.M. Boniwell also did surveying and was a surveyor that was hired to over the grading and building of the road from Centennial Valley that connects Deadwood, Lead and Spearfish. P.M. died in 1919 and Lura continued to lease their building and remained a remained a resident of Whitewood.