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ABOUT Rapid City
The public discovery of gold in 1874 by the Black Hills Expedition, led by George Armstrong Custer, brought a mass influx of European-American miners and settlers into this region of the Dakota Territory. A group of unsuccessful miners founded Rapid City in 1876, trying to create other chances; they promoted their new city as the "Gateway to the Black Hills"; it was originally known as Hay Camp. The "Gateway" nickname is shared by neighboring Box Elder. In February 1876 John Richard Brennan and Samuel Scott, with a small group of men, laid out Rapid City. It was eventually named for the spring-fed Rapid Creek that flows through it.
The land speculators measured off a square mile and designated the six blocks in the center as a business section. Committees were appointed to recruit prospective merchants and their families to locate in the settlement. Such merchants soon began selling supplies to miners and pioneers. The city's location on the edge of the Plains and Hills and its large river valley made it a natural hub for the railroads that were constructed in the late 1880s from both the south and east. By 1900, Rapid City had survived a boom and bust and was developing as an important regional trade center for the Upper Midwest.
The Black Hills had become popular in the late 1890s, but Rapid City became a more important destination in the 20th century. Local entrepreneurs promoted the sights, the availability of the automobile for individual transportation, and construction of improved roadways after World War I led to many more tourists to this area, including President Calvin Coolidge and the First Lady in summer 1927. Coolidge announced that he would not seek reelection in 1928 from his summer office in Rapid City. Gutzon Borglum, already a noted sculptor, began work on Mount Rushmore in 1927, and his son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the work after Gutzon's death in 1941. The work was halted due to the US need to invest in buildup for its entry into World War II; the sculpture was declared complete in 1941. Although tourism had sustained the city throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s, gasoline rationing during World War II decimated such travel. But investments in the defense industry and other war-related growth stimulated the placement of new military installations in the area, bringing more businesses and residents.
In 1930, the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce sent a letter inviting Al Capone to live in the Black Hills. South Dakota's governor did not support the idea, and Capone declined.
In the 1940s Rapid City benefited greatly from the opening of Rapid City Army Air Base, later Ellsworth Air Force Base, an Army Air Corps training base. The local population nearly doubled between 1940 and 1948, from almost 14,000 to nearly 27,000. Military families and civilian personnel soon took every available living space in town, and mobile home parks proliferated. Rapid City businesses profited from the military payroll.
During the Cold War, the government constructed missile installations in the area: a series of Nike Air Defense sites were constructed around Ellsworth in the 1950s. In the early 1960s three Titan missile launch sites were constructed; these contained a total of nine Titan I missiles in Rapid City's general vicinity. Beginning in November 1963, the land for 100 miles east, northeast and northwest of the city was dotted with construction of 150 Minuteman missile silos and 15 launch command centers. They were all deactivated in the early 1990s.
In 1949, city officials envisioned the city as a retail and wholesale trade center for the region. They developed a plan for growth that focused on a civic center, more downtown parking, new schools, and paved streets. A construction boom continued into the 1950s. Growth slowed in the 1960s.
After the Black Hills Flood of 1972, the worst natural disaster in South Dakota history, a building boom took place over the next decade to replace damaged structures. On June 9, 1972, heavy rains caused massive flash flooding along Rapid Creek through the city, killing 238 people and destroying more than $100 million in property.
In response to this devastation, Rapid City received an outpouring of private donations and millions of dollars in federal aid. It was able to complete a major part of its 1949 plan: clearing the area along the Rapid Creek and making the floodplain a public park. In other areas, new homes and businesses were constructed to replace those that had been destroyed. Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and a new Central High School were built in part of the area that was cleared. The high school opened in 1978, with the graduating class that year attending classes in both the original school (housed in what is now Rapid City High School and community theater) and the new one.
The rebuilding generated construction and related jobs that partly insulated Rapid City from the drop in automotive tourism caused by the 1974 Oil Embargo, but tourism was depressed for most of a decade. In 1978, Rushmore Mall was built on the city's north edge, enhancing the city's status as a local retail center.
In 1980, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians that the federal government had illegally stolen the Black Hills from the Sioux people when it unilaterally broke a treaty guaranteeing the Black Hills to them. As a result, the federal government offered a financial settlement, but the Lakota Sioux declined on the principle that the theft of their land should not be validated. They still demand the return of the land. The settlement funds accrue interest. This land includes Rapid City, by far the largest modern settlement in the Black Hills. As of 2019, the dispute has not been settled.
In the 1980s, tourism increased again as the city hosted the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; another decline occurred in the late 1990s. Fears that Ellsworth AFB would be closed under the BRAC review and base closure process in the 1990s and 2000s led to attempts to expand other sectors of the economy. Growth continued and the city expanded significantly during this period.
Today, Rapid City is South Dakota's primary city for tourism and recreation. With the federal government's approval of a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at the Homestake Mine site in nearby Lead, Rapid City is primed for advancements in technology, medicine, and scientific research.
On June 9–10, 1972, extremely heavy rains over the eastern Black Hills of South Dakota produced record floods on Rapid Creek and other streams in the area. Nearly 15 inches (380 mm) of rain fell in about six hours near Nemo, and more than 10 inches (250 mm) of rain fell over an area of 60 square miles (160 km2). According to the Red Cross, the resulting peak floods (which occurred after dark) left 238 people dead and 3,057 people injured. Total property destruction was estimated in excess of $160 million (about $964 million in 2018 dollars), which included 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles that were destroyed.
Runoff from this storm produced record floods (highest peak flows recorded) along Battle, Spring, Rapid, and Box Elder creeks. Smaller floods also occurred along Elk and Bear Butte creeks. Canyon Lake Dam, on the west side of Rapid City, broke the night of the flood, unleashing a wall of water down the creek. The 1972 flooding has an estimated recurrence interval of 500 years, which means that a flood of this magnitude will occur on average once every 500 years. Every year there is a 0.2 percent chance (1 in 500) of a similar event occurring. To prevent similar damage, the city has prohibited residential and business construction on its flood plain. Today the flood plain is used for civic functions such as golf courses, parks, sports arenas, and arboretums, based mostly on the landscape and temporary use by people.
In 2007, the Rapid City Public Library created a 1972 Flood digital archive that collects survivors' stories, photos and news accounts of the flood. The Journey Museum has an interactive display on the 1972 flood; this is an ongoing project to give future generations the best idea of how the people were affected and what changes the city made as a result of the major losses of life and property. Plans include the memorialization of all those who died from the flood by the preparation of individual biographies, so they may be remembered more fully.
As of the census of 2010, there were 67,956 people, 28,586 households, and 16,957 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,226.4 inhabitants per square mile (473.5/km2). There were 30,254 housing units at an average density of 546.0 per square mile (210.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.4% White, 1.1% African American, 12.4% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.
There were 28,586 households, of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.
The median age in the city was 35.6 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 25% were from 45 to 64; and 14.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 59,607 people, 23,969 households, and 15,220 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,336.7 people per square mile (516.1/km2). There were 25,096 housing units at an average density of 562.8 per square mile (217.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.33% White, 0.97% African American, 10.14% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.73% from other races, and 2.77% from two or more races.Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.77% of the population.
There were 23,969 households, out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $35,978, and the median income for a family was $44,818. Males had a median income of $30,985 versus $21,913 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,445. About 9.4% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
People who were born or have resided in Rapid City, South Dakota.
About South Dakota
South Dakota is a sparsely populated Midwestern U.S. state with a big population and rich history where flat prairie gives way to stunning rolling mountains. Black Hills is a national treasure, home to 2 beautiful historic monuments carved into imposing granite peaks: Mt. Rushmore, the tallest historic monument in the U.S., and Crazy Horse Memorial, an honorable tribute to the famous native American tribe. A visit to these marvelous landscapes will quickly become family-friendly and one of the best vacations one can take.
Situated in the western part of North Dakota, South Dakota is bordered on two sides by the Great Sioux river. This border separates the predominantly Lakota population from the Dakota Indians, who are mostly from the Bakllum and Nakota tribes. The two populations face off in what is known as The Great Sioux War (also known as The Great Sioux Campaign) which claimed a tremendous toll on the Indians' lifestyle. The massive numbers of dead and wounded (not to mention abandoned American military equipment) tell a tragic tale of war's brutal aftermath.
In addition to being the ancestral home of the Lakota, Dakota, and Ojibway tribes, South Dakota also has the nation's largest economy. Thanks to an unusually high natural resource base - abundant mineral deposits, abundant lakes, and an extremely hospitable climate - it is a landlocked state with enormous potential. It is home to more than one-hundred industries, including mining, pharmaceuticals, railroads, and amusement parks. One popular industry is tourism, which contributes over ten billion dollars annually to South Dakota's economy.
South Dakota's geology and topography are the result of great contrasts. The rapid glacial retreats of the Ice age caused a great deal of erosion and resulted in large areas of exposed rock. Sand dunes and low rolling hills define the western part of the state, while the mountainous eastern side is characterized by long prairie grass-filled plains.
Because there are many different geological phenomena occurring, geologists study the land for their composition. This includes studying core samples to search for the presence of any sediment. Geologists need to be well-educated about the topography of the area they're investigating because the topography will dictate the kinds of vegetation and the kinds of animals that live there. They'll need to know the topography at the top of a hill, so they can figure out how steep a drop should be. The thickness of the soil, the topography of water levels, and even the amount of sunlight necessary for plants to grow all play into the composition of the land.
A mineral-rich environment is a major draw to South Dakota. There are literally dozens of minerals within the state, many of which are used in manufacturing. Some of the most common minerals found in the state include iron ore, zinc, silver, copper, manganese, and molybdenum. Each mineral has unique qualities, and the mining for them requires scientific know-how. Many minerals are also buried underground, making them very difficult to extract.
Tourism is a big industry in South Dakota. Approximately 25 percent of the state's Gross Domestic Product is derived from tourism. Hotels, resorts, fishing, hunting, outdoor activities, and recreation are all part of South Dakota's economy. The winters are particularly harsh in the state, which is why many people travel from other states to visit during the summer and fall.
Although the climate is challenging, South Dakota's natural resources are abundant. Drought affects the environment, but when precipitation does occur, it usually recedes quickly after. This means that there is ample time for the surrounding natural environment to recover and thrive. Geology and mineral deposits continue to be found and developed, which allow the state to maintain a high quality of life.