Rapid City And Black Hills Mark 50th Anniversary Of Deadly Flood


    This past week marked the 50th anniversary of the Black Hills Flood, also known as the Rapid City Flood, one of the deadliest in U-S history with 238 deaths and 3,057 injuries 

     The flood occurred after 15 inches of rain fell on June 9th, 1972, causing Rapid Creek and other streams to overflow. The sudden increase in water and debris cause Canyon Lake Dam to fail late that evening.

     The flood destroyed more than 1,335 homes and 5,000 vehicles with property damage topping $160-million dollars – over a billion dollars today. 

     On Thursday, Rapid City unveiled a commemorative wall on the flood at The Monument, formerly known as the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

    Dubbed the Monument Storyboard and connecting the new Summit Arena with the renovated Barnett Fieldhouse, the 50-by-11-foot display includes current visual and audio elements of the city’s greenway, flood and photos of various flooded areas.

     Mayor Steve Allender told the audience the wall will evolve in the future in ways to keep the memory of the flood alive, saying “we intend to make this, these efforts, citywide, a constant way to remember who we are and how we got here.”

     In Keystone, where the flood killed 11 people, residents held a memorial Thursday evening to remember the victims of the tragedy that occurred the day after Keystone was incorporated as a city.

       At the memorial, long-time residents shared their memories of the flood, how the town came together, and how it has recovered over the years. 

       Other events are planned throughout the weekend, but focused on the city’s 50th birthday and not the flood.