Rapid City officials announce events to commemorate 50th anniversary of 1972 flood

News StaffMay 13, 2022News
Rapid City - Flood Anniversary Events

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Rapid City officials are putting the finishing touches on events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1972 flood.

City Communications Coordinator Darrell Shoemaker says the flood changed so much of how the city operates, including public safety protocol.

“Part of what we wanted to do was reserve an opportunity for them to share their stories, to go to the library, for instance, and collect those oral histories so that we can preserve those stories for today’s and future generations,” Shoemaker said at Thursday’s press conference.

One of the events planned to remember the tragedy takes place the morning of June 8th. It’s a walk through memorial park to remember the victims.

Also, the Journey Museum, who has long been archiving the events of 1972, says they’re adding to their display for the 50th anniversary.

Below is a listing of events from the city of Rapid City:





3 p.m.:                        ‘Remembrance and Renewal’

A special musical performance by 15 of Rapid City’s most talented musicians

Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center


10 a.m.:                       Flood Memorial Walk hosted by Rapid City Parks & Recreation

Memorial Park Band Shell

10 a.m.-4 p.m.:           Collect Oral Histories hosted by Rapid City Public Library

  (Public invited to record memories of 1972 Flood for preservation)

1:30 p.m.:                   Flood Remembrance Blessing featuring Gerald Yellow Hawk

Journey Museum and Learning Center grounds

2 p.m.-4 p.m.:            ‘Community Storytelling and Sharing’ hosted by Journey Museum

 (Community members invited to share their flood experiences)

Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center

2 p.m.:                        Library Author Talk, Rapid City author and flood survivor Troy Dobbins

Community Room/Rapid City Public Library

4 p.m.:                        50th Flood Observance Bike Ride hosted by Rapid City Parks & Recreation

Founders Park

4 p.m.:                        ‘Remembrance, Resilience and Rebuilding: Lessons from 1972’

Dr. Stephen Hausmann

Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center

5:30 p.m.:                   Opening Ceremony of the 50th Flood Exhibit

Stanford Adelstein Gallery/

Journey Museum and Learning Center

6:30 p.m.:                   ‘Surviving the 1972 Flood’

 South Dakota Public Broadcasting documentary premiere presentation

Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center

8 p.m.:                        Rapid City Municipal Band Concert

Memorial Park Band Shell


10 a.m.-4 p.m.:           Collect Oral Histories hosted by Rapid City Public Library

 (Public invited to record memories of 1972 Flood for preservation)

9 a.m.-3:45 p.m.:       Panel Discussions with speakers discussing aspects of the 1972 Rapid City Flood

    (Public invited to attend rotating half-hour presentations)

Ponderosa and Alpine Rooms/The Monument


                                                         **PANEL DISCUSSION THEMES**

(9-10:15 a.m.)             ‘Lessons Learned/21st Century Forecasting/Preparedness’

Featuring National Weather Service, Emergency Management officials presenting

                                    what happened June 9, lessons learned, today’s forecasting procedures

‘Protecting the Flood Plain’

 Featuring staff from city parks, planning, public works on flood plain/greenway

                                  designations, efforts to preserve/protect City’s greenway areas

(10:30-11:45 a.m.)     ‘Preserving the Flood story’

How the stories of the 1972 flood are being preserved for future generations

  ‘Guard, Base and Volunteer Heroes’

Profiling the efforts of the Guard, Ellsworth AFB and businesses during and after flood

                                                         BREAK FOR LUNCH…

(2-3:45p.m.)                ‘Covering the tragedy’

Featuring former media members about coverage of the flood and aftermath

1972 flood: Historical context, landscape changes and other impacts panel discussion

USGS, SD Mines, Western Dakota Water officials discuss 1972 flood and impacts



4 p.m.:                        1972 Flood Storyboard Wall Dedication/

                                    Ribbon-cutting ceremony and program

Summit Arena/The Monument

5 p.m.:                        Open House/Reception

  (Open time to view static photo displays)

South Concourse/The Monument

6 p.m.:                        ‘Recollection, Recovery and Growth’

Remarks by Mayor Allender

Summer Nights band stage

6 p.m.:                        Dakota Choral Union performance

LaCroix Hall/The Monument

6:30 p.m.:                   ‘An Interview with Mayor Don Barnett: Recollections of the 1972 Flood’

Featuring former Mayor Barnett and long-time news anchor Jack Caudill

LaCroix Hall/The Monument


2 p.m.:                        ‘The Day After the Flood’ featuring Mayor Don Barnett

Hosted by South Dakota Historical Society

Journey Museum Theater