Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

The current location of Reptile Gardens came close to becoming the location of the United Nations headquarters in 1945.
The current location of Reptile Gardens came close to becoming the location of the United Nations headquarters in 1945.
Image courtesy of Reptile Gardens
December 7, 2017

IN HISTORY: Area Businessman Promotes Black Hills as Site for United Nations Headquarters

On December 1, 1945, Rapid City businessman Paul Bellamy traveled to London to lobby the United Nations preparatory committee to select the Black Hills as the organization’s world headquarters.If chosen, the international body’s headquarters would have been located in the valley that now holds Reptile Gardens.

Bellamy met with numerous foreign representatives to convince them that Rapid City and the Black Hills would be the best choice for the new UN Headquarters, touting the region as a region as a “tavern-free, prostitute-free, and tax-free” location without “big city problems.” Bellamy also noted the region’s central location within the United States as well as its abundance of building stone. Thanks to Bellamy’s efforts, Rapid City was one of five finalist locations in the United States.  

Of course, in the end, the Black Hills were ultimately not the chosen location. The Rockerfeller family won out the bid and donated a parcel of land in New York City, which is the location of the UN headquarters today.

June 16 was later named United Nations and Reptile Gardens Location Remembrance Day by Rapid City Mayor Sam Kookier, commemorating Rapid City’s near-successful bid for the United Nations’ Headquarters in the 1940s, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Read more about Bellamy's United Nations' site bid on the Black Hills Knowledge Network historical archives

Related items

  • Pennington County Care Campus Adds 64 New Beds

    Sixty-four new treatment beds opened up at the Pennington County Care Campus today, as the final phase of work on the campus’ second floor was…
  • Lead-Deadwood School Board Announces Vacancy

    Board member Bob Nelson, Jr. submitted his resignation to the Lead-Deadwood School Board at its October 8th meeting, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. It was…
  • YFS Programs Receive $100,000 Grant

    The Girls’ Inc. and Health Connections Programs, both operated by Youth and Family Services in Rapid City, have been awarded a grant of $100,000 by…

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]