Area code(s)605FIPS code46-52980GNIS feature

Rapid City (Lakota: Mni Lúzahaŋ Otȟúŋwahe; "Swift Water City") is the second-largest city in south Dakota (after Sioux Falls) and also the county seat that Pennington County. Named after quick Creek, on which the city is established, it is set against the east slope that the black Hills mountain range. The populace was 67,956 together of the 2010 Census. Recognized as the "Gateway come the black Hills" and the "City the Presidents", the is separation by a low mountain ridge that divides the western and eastern components of the city. Ellsworth Air force Base is located on the outskirts of the city. Camp Rapid, a component of the southern Dakota military National Guard, is situated in the western part of the city. The historic "Old West" town of Deadwood is nearby. In the surrounding Black Hills room the popular tourist attractions of mount Rushmore, the Crazy horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and also Wind cavern National Park.

You are watching: Elevation of rapid city south dakota


The public discovery of gold in 1874 by the black color Hills Expedition lugged a mass flow of settlers into the black Hills an ar of south Dakota. Fast City to be founded, and originally well-known as "Hay Camp", in 1876 through a group of disappointed miners, who advocated their new city together the "Gateway come the black color Hills." man Richard Brennan and also Samuel Scott, through a small group the men, laid out the website of the present Rapid City in February 1876, i beg your pardon was named for the spring-fed rapid Creek the flows with it. A square mile to be measured off and also the six blocks in the center were designated together a service section. Committees were appointed to bring in prospective merchants and also their households to find in the brand-new settlement. The city soon started selling supplies to miners and also pioneers. Its ar on the leaf of the Plains and also Hills and its big river sink made that the herbal hub the railroads showing up in the so late 1880s native both the south and also east. By 1900, fast City had actually survived a boom and bust and also was creating itself as an essential regional trade center for the top midwest.

Although the black color Hills ended up being a renowned tourist destination in the so late 1890s, it was a mix of local efforts, the popular of the automobile, and also construction of boosted highways that carried tourists to the black color Hills in huge numbers after people War I. Gutzon Borglum, already a renowned sculptor, started work on mountain Rushmore in 1927 and his son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the carving the the presidents" faces in rock following his father"s death in 1941. The occupational was halted due to pressures leading to the united state entry into world War II and the enormous sculpture was asserted complete in 1941. Back tourism sustained the city throughout the good Depression that the 1930s, the gasoline rationing of world War II had a destructive effect top top the tourist industry in the town, but this was more than consisted of for by the war-related growth.


The city benefited substantially from the opened of quick City army Air Base, later on Ellsworth Air force Base, an military Air Corps maintain base. As a result, the populace of the area virtually doubled between 1940 and also 1948, from almost 14,000 to nearly 27,000 people. Armed forces families and also civilian personnel soon took every available living space in town, and also mobile home parks proliferated. Fast City enterprise profited native the armed forces payroll. During the Cold War, missile installations proliferated in the area: a series of Nike air Defense sites to be constructed roughly Ellsworth in the 1950s. In the at an early stage 60s the building and construction of three Titan missile launch sites containing a complete of ripe Titan ns missiles in the basic vicinity of quick City took place. Start in November 1963, the land for a hundred miles east, northeast and also northwest that the city was dotted v 150 Minuteman missile silos and also 15 launch command centers, all of which to be deactivated in the early on 1990s.

In 1949, city public official envisioned the city together a retail and also wholesale trade facility for the an ar and designed a plan for growth that focused on a public center, an ext downtown parking places, new schools, and paved streets. A construction boom continued into the 1950s. Growth slowed in the 1960s, yet the worst herbal disaster in southern Dakota history, the black color Hills Flood, led to one more building boom a decade later. On June 9, 1972, hefty rains caused massive flooding of the fast Creek. An ext than 250 people lost their resides and an ext than $100 million in building was destroyed.


The devastation that the flood and the outpouring of personal donations and millions the dollars in federal assist led come the perfect of one large part of the 1979 plan: clearing the area along the quick Creek and making that a public park. Brand-new homes and businesses were constructed to change those that had been destroyed. Rushmore Plaza civic Center and a new main High school were constructed in part of the area that had actually been cleared. The new central High School opened up in 1978, with the graduating class in that year straddling both the original central (housed in what is currently Rapid City High School and community theater) and also the new Central. The rebuilding in component insulated rapid City native the drop in automotive tourism led to by the Oil Embargo in 1974, but tourism was depressed for many of a decade. In 1978, Rushmore mall was constructed on the north edge the the city, including to the city"s place as a retail shopping center.

In 1980 in United claims v. Sioux country of Indians, the supreme Court the the United states ruled that the Federal government of the unified States had illegally stolen the black Hills indigenous the Sioux world when the government unilaterally damaged the treaty that guarantee the black color Hills belonged to the Sioux. The court decision offered money, but the Sioux decreased on principle the the theft of your land have to not be validated, and also still need the return that the land. This land has Rapid City, i beg your pardon is by far the largest modern-day settlement in the black Hills. Together of 2010, the problem has not been settled.

In the 1980s, development was sustained by an increase in tourism, increasingly tied to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, followed by another decline in the late 1990s. Fears because that the closure the Ellsworth AFB as part of the substantial base closure procedure in the 1990s and 2000s resulted in attempts to expand other sectors that the economy, yet growth continued and also the city expanded considerably during this period.

Today, rapid City is southern Dakota"s main city for tourism and also recreation. V the approval that a Deep underground Science and also Engineering laboratory at the Homestake Mine site in nearby Lead, quick City has actually a future of good advancements in technology, medicine, and also scientific research.

1972 rapid Creek flood


On June 9–10, 1972, exceptionally heavy rains over the eastern black color Hills of southern Dakota created record floods on fast Creek and other streams in the area. Almost 15 inch (380 mm) of rain dropped in around 6 hrs near Nemo, and much more than 10 inch (250 mm) the rain fell over an area of 60 square miles (160 km2). According to the Red Cross, the resulting optimal floods (which emerged after dark) left 238 people dead and also 3,057 human being injured. In enhancement to the person tragedy, total destruction was estimated in overfill of $160 million (about $821 million in 2009 dollars), which consisted of 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles that were destroyed. Runoff native this storm created record floods (highest top flows recorded) along Battle, Spring, Rapid, and Box Elder Creeks. Smaller floods likewise occurred along Elk Creek and also Bear Butte Creek. Canyon Lake Dam, on the west side of fast City, broke the night of the flood, unleashing a wall of thin down the creek. The 1972 flooding has actually an estimated recurrence term of 500 years, which method that a flood of this size will take place on average once every 500 years. Annually there is a 0.2 percent chance (1 in 500) of enduring a comparable event. To stop a comparable tragedy from arising in the future, the city"s flood level is no longer permitted to be developed upon. This particular day the overwhelming plain features golf courses, parks, sporting activities arenas, and also arboretums wherein neighborhoods and also businesses when stood.

In 2007, the quick City publicly Library created a 1972 overwhelming digital archive the collects survivors" stories, photos and news accounts of the flood. The journey Museum has actually an interactive display on the 1972 overwhelming which is an ongoing project to give future generations the best idea of how the civilization were affected and the alters made come it because of the loss of 238 lives. It will certainly in the future encompass the biographies of all of those who died so they will certainly be remembered as an ext than surname on a memorial.


According to the United says Census Bureau, the city has actually a total area that 55.49 square mile (143.71 km2), of i beg your pardon 55.41 square mile (143.5 km2) is land and also 0.08 square mile (0.2 km2) is water.

Rapid City is situated on the east edge that the black color Hills, and also is break-up in fifty percent by the Dakota Hogback. Rapid City"s "Westside" is located in the Red Valley in between the foothills of the black Hills proper and the Dakota Hogback, so named for the red Spearfish development soils and the means the valley fully circles the black color Hills. Rapid City has grown up into the foothills, v both ridges and also valleys developed, specifically in the last 20 years, and wildfire is a distinctive threat to this residential areas, as shown by the Westberry Trails fire in 1988.


Skyline Drive adheres to the summits of the Dakota Hogback southern from close to Rapid void (where rapid Creek cuts through the Hogback) come a huge high plateau which creates the existing south leaf of rapid City. The main and Eastern sections of quick City lied in the large valley of fast Creek exterior the Hogback, which consists of a number of mesas increasing a hundred feet or much more above the floodplain.

Rapid Creek

Rapid Creek flows through quick City, emerging from Dark Canyon over Canyon Lake and flowing in a big arc phibìc of Downtown. Rapid Creek descends come the southeast as the sink widens. The floodplain of fast Creek is mainly a collection of parks, arboretums, and also bike trails, one legacy of the black color Hills overwhelming of 1972. To the north, a collection of ridges separates quick Creek from crate Elder Creek, with huge older and brand-new residential areas and also commercial locations along I-90. Come the south, the terrain rises much more steeply come the southern widening the the Dakota Hogback into a plateau separating the quick Creek drainage from feather Creek.



View that southern rapid City indigenous the eastern after a rainstorm, consisting of a watch of black Elk Peak and the black Hills.

Rapid City features a steppe climate (Köppen BSk), and also is part of USDA hardiness zone 5a. Its location makes that is climate uneven both the greater elevations that the black Hills and also the an excellent Plains to the east. That is defined by long arid summers and long dry winters, with short but distinctive spring and also autumn seasons. Precipitation averages 16.3 customs or 414.0 millimetres annually, however has historically ranged from 9.12 customs or 231.6 millimetres in 1974 to 27.70 inches or 703.6 millimetres in 1946.

Winters space cold and dry, through December, with a everyday average temperature of 24.9 °F or −3.9 °C, gift the coldest month in current years; however, chinook winds deserve to warm temperatures over 50 °F or 10 °C, doing for this reason on average around 21 time from December come February. Temperature inversions, however, occasionally create warmer temperatures in the black color Hills. Top top average, highs perform not climb above freezing ~ above 42 days, when the short temperature reaches 0 °F or −17.8 °C on an average of seventeen nights. Snowfall is frequent however usually no heavy; March and also April are frequently the snowiest months, and also the seasonal full averages 41 customs or 1.04 metres, back historically varying from 16.9 inches or 0.43 metres during 1980–81 come 80.9 inch or 2.05 metres throughout 1985–86. Considerable snow cover go not remain for long, with only nine job seasonally v 5 customs or 0.13 metres or more on the ground. Measurable snow has occurred in every month except July.

Compared to locations in the east, feather warms quite gradually, with the last measurable snow typically occurring in late April and precipitation totals start to increase; might snow occurs several times per decade. In the latter fifty percent of spring, storms typically construct over the black color Hills during the afternoon and also move top top the plains in the evening. Only April through June have actually observed calendar-day precipitation quantities exceeding 3 customs or 76.2 millimetres, and June 15, 1963, through 3.78 inches or 96.0 millimetres, holds the single-day rainfall record; the record-wettest month is may 1996 with 8.18 inches or 207.8 millimetres. However, fast City tho sees an typical of twenty clean to partially cloudy days and also 67 percent that its feasible sunshine in June. This is the timeless “flood” season because that Rapid and other creeks in the east Hills. Temperatures warm rapidly as summer approaches.

Summer in quick City is hot, reasonably dry, and also sunny. July is the warmest month of the year, having a day-to-day average temperature that 87.1 °F (30.6 °C). Over there is an mean of 34 days through 90 °F (32.2 °C)+ highs and 5.1 through 100 °F (37.8 °C)+ highs. Due to the elevation and also aridity, lows hardly ever remain at or over 70 °F (21.1 °C) and during July and also August fall to or below 50 °F or 10 °C top top an mean 7.6 days. Fast City records an typical of ripe thunderstorm work in August, yet only 1.56 customs or 39.6 millimetres that rain in the month.

Fall is a precipitous transition season, with the average first freeze in quick City is October 4 and also late August through September in the black Hills. The rapid City area’s very first snowfall is typically in October, although higher elevations sometimes receive far-ranging snow in September. Occasional cold fronts relocating through the area carry blustery northwest winds.

Sunshine is abundant in the region, averaging 2850 hours, 64% that the feasible total, every year.

Rapid City stop a record for an extreme temperature drop of 47 °F or 26.1 °C in five minutes on January 10, 1911, from 60 °F or 15.6 °C to 13 °F or −10.6 °C. Official too much temperatures range from −31 °F or −35.0 °C on February 2, 1996 up to 111 °F or 43.9 °C on July 15, 2006; the record low daily maximum is −18 °F or −27.8 °C on February 2, 1989, when the record high daily minimum is 75 °F or 23.9 °C on July 8, 1985 and July 28, 1960.

Climate data for rapid City local Airport, south Dakota (1981−2010 normals, extremes 1942−present)MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYearRecord high °F (°C)Average high °F (°C)Average short °F (°C)Record short °F (°C)Precipitation inches (mm)Snowfall inch (cm)% HumidityAvg. Precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)Avg. Snowy work (≥ 0.1 in)Sunshine hours
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990)


Historical populationCensusPop.%±
Est. 201573,5698.3%
U.S. Decennial Census2015 Estimate

2010 census

As the the census the 2010, there to be 67,956 people, 28,586 households, and also 16,957 families residing in the city. The populace density to be 1,226.4 inhabitants per square mile (473.5/km2). There to be 30,254 real estate units in ~ an average density of 546.0 per square mile (210.8/km2). The racial makeup the the city to be 80.4% White, 1.1% african American, 12.4% native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from various other races, and 4.1% from two or much more races. Hispanic or Latino of any kind of race were 4.1% that the population.

There to be 28,586 households of i beg your pardon 29.9% had kids under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% to be married couples life together, 13.1% had a woman householder with no husband present, 5.1% had actually a masculine householder v no mam present, and 40.7% were non-families. 32.9% the all families were comprised of individuals and 11.1% had someone life alone that was 65 year of period or older. The average household size was 2.29 and also the average household size was 2.90.

The median period in the city was 35.6 years. 23.9% of citizens were under the age of 18; 10.6% were between the ages of 18 and also 24; 25.7% were from 25 come 44; 25% were from 45 to 64; and also 14.5% to be 65 years of period or older. The gender makeup that the city was 49.5% male and also 50.5% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there to be 59,607 people, 23,969 households, and 15,220 family members residing in the city. The population density was 1,336.7 world per square mile (516.1/km2). There were 25,096 real estate units at an average density of 562.8 every square mile (217.3/km2). The gyeongju makeup of the city was 84.33% White, 0.97% afri American, 10.14% indigenous American, 1.00% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.73% from other races, and 2.77% from 2 or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.77% the the population.

There to be 23,969 households out of i m sorry 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 12.6% had actually a female householder through no husband present, and also 36.5% to be non-families. 29.4% that all families were consisted of of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone that was 65 year of age or older. The average family members size to be 2.39 and the average family members size was 2.96.

In the city, the population was spread out through 25.3% under the period of 18, 11.8% native 18 to 24, 28.7% native 25 to 44, 20.9% native 45 come 64, and 13.2% that were 65 year of period or older. The median period was 35 years. Because that every 100 females there to be 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there to be 93.6 males.

See more: How Long Does It Take To Fill A Pool ? (With Calculator) (With Calculator)

As the 2000 the median income for a family in the city was $35,978, and the median revenue for a household was $44,818. Males had actually a median earnings of $30,985 matches $21,913 because that females. The per capita income for the city was $19,445. Around 9.4% that families and 12.7% that the population were listed below the poor line, including 17.6% that those under period 18 and also 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Art and also culture

Because that the importance of travel in the area, and its considerable market area, fast City has many social resources usually uncovered only in much larger urban areas. Among these are: