SD Oral History Center Interviews

Subject

In the aftermath of the 1972 Black Hills Flood, the South Dakota Oral History Center conducted a series of interviews with flood victims in Rapid City and the surrounding areas. Around 250 people were interviewed in the month following the disaster, and a series of aftermath interviews were also conducted in the summer of 1973. These interviews were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes, and are currently available at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

The Rapid City Public Library has recently reached an agreement with the South Dakota Oral History Center that will allow us to digitize these interviews and make them available on our website provided we get retro-active release forms signed by the interviewees (or their next of kin). Release forms were not gathered at the time the interviews were conducted, as no one anticipated the legal restrictions that we now have to work with.

We have managed to track down a number of the interviewees already, but have an even longer list of people we're still looking for. We would love to get the public's help on this project, as these interviews tell an important part of our city's history and we would like to see them reach a wider audience.

If you have any information that may help us contact the people we're looking for, please see the Contact Us page for more information.

Description

Interviews with flood victims conducted by the SD Oral History Center in 1972-1973.

Date

1972-1973

Collection Items

Mayor of Rapid City; Notification of possible high water; Preparation by police, public works employees; Observed situation at Canyon Lake Dam several times; Evacuation of Canyon Lake Park approximately 9:45 p.m.; Phone call from above Rapid City…

[Southeast quarter, northwest quarter, section 9, township 1 north, range 7 east] Evacuated home about 10:30 p.m., swept away by flood waters; Sons took refuge in house which was destroyed - eldest escaped to roof of another house, youngest climbed…

[Southeast quarter, southwest quarter, section 8, township 1 north, range 7 east] Rapid rise of water in Braeburn Addition; Evacuation of Bice family and neighbors; Observation of flood waters and destruction in Braeburn Addition; Personal…

[Southwest quarter, northeast quarter, section 9, township 1 north, range 7 east] Rise of water; Escaped to attic where roof collapsed; Floated downstream in inner tubes; Mr. Bruns stranded in a tree and Mrs. Bruns on debris; Rescue and subsequent…

Operations Officer, Pennington County Civil Defense; Went to office about 8 p.m., June 9 because of reports of flooding outside Rapid City; Monitored calls on Fire Department and Street Department radios to assess situation; Set up Emergency…

[Southeast quarter, southwest quarter, section 8, township 1 north, range 7 east] Home flooded by water in short period of time; Mr. Corwin in attic when house broke up, clung to piece of roof; Swept down creek, circled Canyon Lake three times, went…

[Southeast quarter, southeast quarter, section 6, township 1 north, range 7 east] Forced to return to Rapid City from Girl Scout campout at Robaix Lake because of rain - difficulties encountered in driving back; Description of rainfall and estimation…

Temporary housing following flood - private homes and HUD trailer; Served on Citizens' Committee for Urban Renewal; Procedure of acquisition of home by Urban Renewal; Decision to purchase new home instead of moving former home; Purchase of new lot;…

[Southeast quarter, northwest quarter, section 9, township 1 north, range 7 east] Unsuccessful attempt to evacuate home about 10:30 p.m.- rising water stalled cars; Attempted to assist double amputee - floated to house on Franklin and 38th […

[Northeast quarter, southeast quarter, section 35, range 7 east, township 1 north] Purpose of Mother Butler Center; Observation of water in creek about 11:15 p.m. (4 feet below bank); House torn from foundation, began floating down creek about 11:30;…

Formation of Mayor's Indian Welfare Coordination Committee; Problems establishing committee's credibility; Functions of committee; Examples of discrimination against Indians; Problems of Indians who lost their homes in the flood; Opinion of proposed…

[Southwest quarter, southwest quarter, section 35, township 2 north, range 7 east] Home flooded shortly after Canyon Lake Dam broke; Mrs. Flanagan, her husband and daughter floated on a mattress until 6:30 a.m.; All houses around them were destroyed;…

Background of Family Planning Service; Staff; Emotional problems of persons who were directly involved in the flood and also those who were not directly involved; Functions of Outreach workers following flood; Social work students from University of…

Members of city council; Damage east of Rapid City to Pactola Dam as observed on helicopter tour; Need for immediate attention from government agencies; Organization of clean-up operations; Favorable opinion of proposed parkway on flood plain;…

Mr. Hemstock, patrol sergeant with Rapid City Police Department on 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift June 9; Flood reports, First flood fatality picked up north of Jackson Boulevard about 11 p.m.; Patrol work and body recovery during flood; Comments on work of…

[Southeast quarter, southwest quarter, section 8, range 7 east, township 1 north] Rise of water in Rapid Creek, Braeburn Addition; Evacuation from home about 10 p.m.; Rise of water on Riverdell Drive while evacuating mother and stepfather; Mr. Hixson…

Rise of water in Rapid Creek; Observation of flood waters and destruction from Bennett-Clarkson Hospital [Southeast quarter, northeast quarter, section 3, township 1 north, range 7 east]; Rescued several people in area of Canyon Lake Bridge at Baken…

[Northwest quarter, southeast quarter, section 3, township 1 north, range 7 east] Home flooded; Two rooms knocked off house by another house; Steven, Sharon and parents spent night in a bedroom; Escaped in morning with aid of Air Force personnel;…

[Northwest quarter, southwest quarter, section 9, township 1 north, range 7 east] Rise of water near home; Heard evacuation notice about 10:30 p.m.; Family tried to evacuate in car, trapped by water rise of approximately four feet; Car engulfed by…

[Northwest quarter, southeast quarter, section 9, township 1 north, range 7 east] Rise of water around home; Home knocked off foundation by another house - family trapped in home all night; Observation of water throughout the night; Escape from home…
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