Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Nine days after the 1972 Rapid City and Black Hills Flood, First Lady Pat Nixon visited Rapid City to attend a memorial service, as originally reported by the New York Times. At the time of the memorial, 215 individuals were known to have perished from the natural disaster. Mrs. Nixon landed at Ellsworth Air Force Base before going straight to the memorial service which was held at Stevens High School.

Mrs. Nixon was not the only representative from President Nixon’s administration to visit Rapid City during the aftermath of the 1972 Flood. Shortly after the flood on June 10, Counsellor to the President Robert H. Finch flew to Rapid City to discuss disaster assistance with Mayor Don Barnett. During his visit, the Nixon White House also announced several federal and private assistance efforts to help the city recoup after the disaster.

Following the flood, a memorial was established in remembrance of the 238 victims who perished. The City of Rapid City acquired the land for Memorial Park following the 1972, where the flood memorial presently resides.

The names of those who lost their lives in the 1972 Rapid City and Black Hills Flood can be viewed on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s 1972 Flood - In Memoriam page. Additional historical resources including photos, original broadcast reports, and news reports are available on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Digital History Archives. A full transcript of the memorial service is available through the Rapid City Journal’s website.

Published in Home
Friday, 09 June 2017 19:13

Rapid City Remembers The Flood Of '72

 Visit the Rapid City Public Library and Black Hills Knowledge Network's Biblioboard collection of photographs featuring commercial damage, residential damage, and community damage caused by the flood.

Published in News

Forty-five years ago on June 9, 1972, torrential rains caused the Canyon Lake Dam to fail and sent water rushing through Rapid CIty. More than ten inches of rainfall over six hours had caused Rapid Creek and several other streams to overflow their banks. The water swept trees, buildings, automobiles and other debris away in its path.

The flood claimed 238 lives and caused over $160 million in property damage. Following the flood, the city constructed a 12-mile-long bike path and public greenway as both a memorial to those who were lost in the flood as well as a mechanism to ensure that a similar tragedy would not occur in the future.

The Black Hills Knowledge Network hosts a variety of historical items concerning the flood, including photos, government documents, news reports, and more on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Digital Archives. Then Rapid City Public LIbrary also has a variety of resources on the flood, including written and oral histories, photographs, news broadcasts, and the Robb DeWall Collection. DeWall was a broadcast journalist, historian and the Emergency Broadcasting System broadcaster during the initial hours of the 1972 flood.

Learn more about the 1972 Rapid City and Black Hills Flood on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Issue Hub.

Published in Home

Elected when he was just 28 years old, Don Barnett was Rapid City's youngest mayor when Canyon Lake Dam failed on June 9, 1972. The 1972 Flood would be a defining moment for Barnett's mayoral career and for Rapid City. Floodwaters killed 238 people and destroyed 1,335 homes. In the aftermath, Rapid City established the greenway, buying up buildings and prohibiting development of the flood zone. Forty-five years later, the Rapid City Journal reports, Barnett is concerned people will forget why the greenway was established. To help remind people of the lessons of the past, Barnett will speak at the Rapid City Public Library on Wednesday, June 7 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. On Thursday, he'll lead a walking tour of areas hit by the flood.

Published in News

A recent study conducted by a consultant has updated where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated flood-plain is around Rapid City and, as a result, over 200 homes no longer will need to pay for the mandated flood insurance. According to the Rapid City Journal, those remaining in the flood-plain area will need to continue paying the insurance. Though other houses that are still in the flood-plain don't mind making the payments for the protection, their location and added insurance cost does make them a less desirable place to purchase for any future buyer. To view the updated flood-plain map of the affected area, view the FEMA letter of map revision determination document.

To read up on past news articles related to the flood-plain of Rapid City, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online archives link.

For more information on the Rapid City flood-plain and why it exists, be sure to check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub page on the 1972 Rapid City Flood.

Published in News
Thursday, 09 June 2016 00:00

Rapid City Remembers Tragedy Of The Flood

Rapid City remembers the tragedy and heroism of the 1972 flood on its 44th anniversary, reports the Rapid City Journal.

On the evening of June 9, 1972 the Rapid City area received more than 14 inches of rain, causing Rapid Creek to rise nearly 4 feet in the space of a minute in the Dark Canyon area.  In Rapid City along the creek, both houses and businesses were destroyed from the rising waters.  After all was said and done, 238 people had died.

Rapid City became the center of national attention as reporters, aide workers and public officials came to survey the damage and assist in the clean up.  The legacy of the flood lives on in the cleared flood plain, our flood control measures, and the memories of those who lived through it and will never forget. 

Pictures of the flood can be seen in this Rapid City Journal article.

For more information on the flood, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network news archive.

Published in News

On December 1, 2015, Rapid City Public Libraries celebrates the opening of its Local History Room. The library has maintained a collection focused on South Dakota and the Black Hills. This new room will contain the rare items from that collection, while also providing access to information on the 1972 Flood, oral histories, and the city scrapbooks. A South Dakota Public Broadcasting story goes into further detail on the room.

The Local History Room rules are available online. Past stories on the Rapid City Public Libraries can be found in the archive.

Published in News
Monday, 15 June 2015 00:00

Walkers Remember 1972 Flood

Around two dozen walkers met for the 4th Annual Black Hills Flood Memory Walk on June 14. The walk, organized by the Friends of Rapid City Parks, remembers those lost in the Black Hills Flood on June 9, 1972. The group started at the Journey Museum and made a loop through Memorial Park. They stopped at the Flood Memorial and had a moment of silent reflection.

A wide range of ages was represented among the walkers. Although many were too young to have lived through the flood, everyone wanted to keep the memory of that terrible night alive. The flood's legacy could be seen in the greenway, but there was also an unintended reminder: the walk could not proceed along the original planned route as part of the bike path was underwater. The greenway was serving its intended purpose, giving the water somewhere to flow without damaging property or threatening life.

The event brought media attention; KOTA devoted a news segment to the walk.

 

Published in News

As a result of the 1972 flood, over 1,335 homes and 5,000 vehicles were destroyed. The cost of damage totaled over $160 million in 1972 dollars. Here, you can see the flood damage dealt to the Pennington County ASCS office.

The fourth annual Memory Walk to commemorate the flood will be held on Saturday, June 14, in Memorial Park. The Memory Walk pays respect to the 238 lives lost in the flood.

Published in News

The force of the flood waters were so strong, homes were lifted off their foundations and moved hundreds of yards away and approximately 5,000 cars were destroyed. Here, we see a car displaced by the flood. It was found in Canyon Lake, tipped upwards and lodged against the Canyon Lake Dam structure. 

The fourth annual Memory Walk to commemorate the 1972 Black Hills Flood will be held on Saturday, June 14, in Memorial Park. The Memory Walk pays respect to the 238 lives lost in the flood.

Published in News
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 00:00

Flood Week: Damage at Baken Park

The Black Hills Flood of 1972 changed Rapid City. Businesses and homes had to be rebuilt. While rebuilding, the city also looked at what could be done to prevent another such disaster. One method used was buying up the property in the flood plain. By tearing down the houses in the flood plain and not allowing new buildings, the city could keep the most dangerous area free of permanent residents. A side effect was that the unused land was turned into city parks, expanding Rapid City's parks system.

More photographs from the Flood can be found in our historic archive. Rapid City Public Libraries is currently displaying a Flood Wall, remembering those lost in the Flood.

Published in News

The Black Hills Flood of 1972 was caused by 15 inches of rainfall in just over six hours. Many homes and businesses were damaged. The picture above is of a residential two-story home that was displaced by the flood. It floated up off its foundation and was found approximately 200 yards away on Highway 16.

More images from the aftermath of the flood will be shared throughout the week. Additional photos can be found through our Digital Archives and more flood information can be found on our resource page.

Published in News

The Black Hills Flood of 1972 devestated homes and businesses in Rapid City. The above photo shows Ford Motors, where the water piled cars on each other. In total, the flood inflicted $160 million in property damage (over $900 million in 2015 dollars).

More images from the aftermath of the flood will be shared throughout the week. Additional photos can be found through our Digital Archives and more flood information can be found on our resource page.

Published in News

FOURTH ANNUAL FLOOD MEMORY WALK TO VISIT MEMORIAL PARK

RAPID CITY ­ -- On Sunday, June 14, Friends of Rapid City Parks will host its fourth annual Memory Walk to commemorate the city’s tragic 1972 flood and to celebrate the park system that grew in its wake.

This year’s event will begin and end at The Journey Museum, with a loop through Memorial Park to include a stop for remembrance at the monument that records the names of the 238 victims of the flood. The annual walk is made possible by Friends of Rapid City Parks members, and support from the Remembrance & Renewal Flood Anniversary Committee.

The history walk of about one mile begins at 11:00 a.m. and will include stops at the Flood Memorial, at the Sixth Street Bridge, and back to The Journey where participants are encouraged to visit the permanent exhibition about the flood. All participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt.

Friends of Rapid City Parks and the Rapid City Public Library collaborated on installation of QR codes that connect bike path users to mobile web content. The last of the two codes were installed on the Sixth Street Bridge, QR one and two in May, following completion of the Promenade. These were partially funded by a Black Hills Knowledge Network grant. Friends of RC Parks are going to debut them during the Flood Memory Walk. With a click of a smart phone over interpretive signs along the Leonard Swanson Bike Path viewers will be taken to the past with first hand audio and video recollections of the 1972 Flood, or can click them into the present with information and statistics about how Memorial Park is used today. For more information on the Fourth Annual Flood Memory Walk contact Suzanne Martley, executive director of Friends of Rapid City Parks at 605.786.2496.

 

View more information on the Rapid City Flood visit the Rapid City Public Libraries Flood Page or our Black Hills and Rapid City Flood of 1972 Knowledge Network page.

 

Published in News
Sunday, 07 June 2015 00:00

Flood Week: Debris at the Dam

On June 9, 1972, heavy rain fall over six hours deposited more than ten inches of rain in the Rapid City area. Rapid Creek and other streams overflowed. At Canyon Lake Dam, shown above, debris collected and created a barrier, increasing the depth of water behind the dam. When the dam failed, flood water rushed into the city.

More images from the aftermath of the flood will be shared throughout the week. Additional photos can be found through our Digital Archives and more flood information can be found on our resource page.

Published in News
Monday, 22 September 2014 00:00

Plan Turns Park Into BMX Track

Following soon after the plan to expand the parking lot at West Memorial Park, more parkland is marked for re-purposing. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board September Agenda contains plans to turn part of Founders Park into a BMX track. Founders Park, like much of the park system, was acquired following the Black Hills Flood of 1972. As such, the proposed track sits inside the floodway.

KOTA will have the story tonight. More stories on Rapid City's parks can be found in the archive.

Published in News
Saturday, 19 July 2014 00:00

1972 Flood - In Memoriam

The Rapid City Flood Memorial, located within Memorial Park, stands as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragic flood of 1972.

Below are the names of the people who died in the June 9, 1972 flood, as compiled by the city of Rapid City. 238 people perished in the flood, including the 5 missing. That number also includes three National Guardsmen, three firefighters, seven airmen from Ellsworth Air Force Base, one police reserve officer, and other rescuers.

Original text from the 1972 memorial service for flood victims

Portraits and bios of flood victims are available in the 1972 Flood Collection from the online digital archive.

We need your help - we would like to have a photo of each flood victim. If you have one available for digitization please contact the Rapid City Public Library.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A


B


C


D

E


F


G


H


J

K


L

M


N


O


P

Q

R

S

 

T


V


W


Y


Z


 
     

 

 
Published in Black Hills
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 16:56

Flood Memory Walk to Include Bicyclists

This Saturday, June 7th, the Friends of Rapid City Parks will host the third annual Memory Walk to commemorate the 1972 flood and to celebrate the park system that grew in its wake. This year’s event has expanded to include both a history walk, bike rides, and a free picnic thanks to support from the Remembrance & Renewal Flood Anniversary Committee. 

The history walk of about 3 miles begins at 10:30 a.m. at Braeburn Park and ends at the picnic shelter at Old Storybook Island. The 4-mile bicycle ride begins at the Fairgrounds interpretive sign at San Francisco Street and Cherry Street.

Friends of Rapid City Parks, the Rapid City Public Libraries, and the Black Hills Knowledge Network collaborated on installation of QR codes that connect bike path users to mobile web content. 

 

Published in News

A flick of a smart phone over interpretive signs along the Leonard Swanson Bike Path will take viewers to the past with first hand audio and video recollections of the 1972 Flood, or click them into the present with information and statistics about how Memorial Park is used today. Friends of Rapid City Parks and the Rapid City Public Library collaborated on installation of QR codes that connect bike path users to mobile web content developed by the two organizations. The 40th Anniversary Commemoration Committee and the South Dakota Humanities Foundation supported the project.

Friends worked with the committee to develop the signs that were installed along the bike path as part of the 40th anniversary observance of the flood in 2012. “When our board first discussed the sign project, our main concern was that the target audience for the information is the generation who did not experience the 1972 Black Hills Flood,” said Steve McCarthy, president and founder of Friends. “One of our board members who is an active cyclist suggested smart phone codes be added to the engraved signs,” he said, and the group took the idea to the 40th flood anniversary
organizing committee.

Demographers estimate that about three-fourths of Rapid City’s current residents either didn’t live here or were not yet born in 1972. The signs and the QR codes offer an opportunity to inform people who are now aged 20 to 40, or who have moved to Rapid City in the past 30 years, and are not familiar with flood history. This audience includes bicyclists, joggers, walkers, parents walking or riding the bike path with children, and similar users, according to Hillary Dobbs-Davis, another member of the Friends’ board. “The generation that remembers the flood is getting older. If we don’t get the next generation into that space, soon, so that they can appreciate it, there will be fewer and fewer people left to fight for it.”

Codes developed by Friends will add web-based content to the signs at locations in Braeburn Park, Meadowbrook Golf Course, Storybook Island, Memory Lane, across from Baken Park, at Omaha and Mountain View, East and Omaha, and at the Fairgrounds. The library developed links for the sign locations at Canyon Lake, Sioux Park, Founders Park, Executive Golf Course, and the Sixth Street Bridge.

“The generation who experienced the 1972 flood has generously shared personal stories and participated in action to preserve the greenway along Rapid Creek,” said Stephanie Bents, Digital and Public Services Librarian at the Rapid City Public Library. She said those individuals are now only about a third of the population of Rapid City. Decision making about land and water planning and uses of the greenway will be made by people who either moved to Rapid City after 1972, or were born after it occurred.

“This younger generation, who walk, jog, bicycle, and roller blade individually or with their young children along Rapid Creek are the target audience,” Bents added. Other users of Rapid City parks, bike path, playgrounds, golf courses, fairgrounds, and picnic areas will have access to 14 codes along the 8 miles of the system. Audio, video, photos, and links to the library’s Flood Wiki archive will pop up on smart phone screens, as well as brief facts and figures about the site where the viewer is standing.

Samantha Slocum, an associate librarian who developed material for the mobile web pages said the use of smart phone technology, in combination with the stationary interpretive panels, provides access to more detailed information than can be presented on the physical signs, including audio and video and links to the Library’s Flood Wiki. “The technology allows Friends and the Library to update information, provide new facts and figures, change links to additional personal stories, add updated audio, video, info graphics, and resources.” TDG Communications of Deadwood, which has done QR code projects providing information about historic buildings in Rapid City and Deadwood, created the web technology to support the codes.

 

Published in News

A flick of a smart phone over interpretive signs along the
Leonard Swanson Bike Path will take viewers to the past with firsthand audio
and video recollections of the 1972 Flood, or click them into the present with
information and statistics about how Memorial Park is used today.
Friends of Rapid City Parks and the Rapid City Public Library collaborated on
installation of QR codes that connect bike path users to mobile web content developed
by the two organizations. The 40th Anniversary Commemoration Committee and the
South Dakota Humanities Foundation supported the project.
Friends worked with the committee to develop the signs that were installed
along the bike path as part of the 40th anniversary observance of the flood in 2012.
“When our board first discussed the sign project, our main concern was that the
target audience for the information is the generation who did not experience the 1972
Black Hills Flood,” said Steve McCarthy, president and founder of Friends. “One of our
board members who is an active cyclist suggested smart phone codes be added to the
engraved signs,” he said, and the group took the idea to the 40th flood anniversary
organizing committee.
Demographers estimate that about three-fourths of Rapid City’s current
residents either didn’t live here or were not yet born in 1972. The signs and the QR
codes offer an opportunity to inform people who are now aged 20 to 40, or who have
moved to Rapid City in the past 30 years, and are not familiar with flood history. This
audience includes bicyclists, joggers, walkers, parents walking or riding the bike path
with children, and similar users, according to Hillary Dobbs-Davis, another member of
the Friends’ board.
“The generation that remembers the flood is getting older. If we don’t get the
next generation into that space, soon, so that they can appreciate it, there will be fewer
and fewer people left to fight for it.”
Codes developed by Friends will add web-based content to the signs at locations
in Braeburn Park, Meadowbrook Golf Course, Storybook Island, Memory Lane, across
from Baken Park, at Omaha and Mountain View, East and Omaha, and at the
Fairgrounds. The library developed links for the sign locations at Canyon Lake, Sioux
Park, Founders Park, Executive Golf Course, and the Sixth Street Bridge.
“The generation who experienced the 1972 flood has generously shared
personal stories and participated in action to preserve the greenway along Rapid
Creek,” said Stephanie Bents, Digital and Public Services Librarian at the Rapid City
Public Library. She said those individuals are now only about a third of the population
of Rapid City. Decision making about land and water planning and uses of the
greenway will be made by people who either moved to Rapid City after 1972, or were
born after it occurred.
“This younger generation, who walk, jog, bicycle, and roller blade individually
or with their young children along Rapid Creek are the target audience,” Bents added.
Other users of Rapid City parks, bike path, playgrounds, golf courses, fairgrounds,
and picnic areas will have access to 14 codes along the 8 miles of the system.
Audio, video, photos, and links to the library’s Flood Wiki archive will pop up
on smart phone screens, as well as brief facts and figures about the site where the
viewer is standing.
Samantha Slocum, an associate librarian who developed material for the
mobile web pages said the use of smart phone technology, in combination with the
stationary interpretive panels, provides access to more detailed information than can
be presented on the physical signs, including audio and video and links to the
Library’s Flood Wiki.
“The technology allows Friends and the Library to update information,
provide new facts and figures, change links to additional personal stories, add
updated audio, video, info graphics, and resources.”
TDG Communications of Deadwood, which has done QR code projects
providing information about historic buildings in Rapid City and Deadwood, created
the web technology to support the codes.

Published in News
Page 1 of 2

Get Involved!

  • Need more information? Rapid City Public Library associates are standing by to answer your questions! Ask away in the box below during business hours for live feedback.

    For more on this feature, click here.

  • bhkn donate

    Enjoy our work? Donate today to ensure that community members will have access to our wealth of news, history, and data for years to come.

  • 211 logoDid this post inspire you to get involved? Visit our partner 211's Volunteer Database to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

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