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

  • A New Name For The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center

    After several months of accepting proposals for a new name, Executive Director of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Craig Baltzer has said that the committee…
  • First Rapid City Council Forum Held Monday

    Democracy in Action hosted an introductory forum for candidates for the 2019 Rapid City Council and Mayoral Election Monday evening at Southwest Middle School, reports…
  • Liv Hospitality Commits to Renewable Ready Program With BHE

    Liv Hospitality has made a commitment to use 50% renewable energy at several of its hotels by the year 2020, depending on the approval of…

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