Jen Blalock (Starrett)


Written Memory


October 20, 2011


Location of Memory: Keystone

I was 17 and my girlfriend and I went camping in the Black Hills that weekend. It rained so hard the rain hurt hitting our skin. We broke up camp and went to Keystone where some friends had a trailer right on the river. Someone came and got us out of the trailer during the night and we made it across the bridge to the top floor of a restaurant before the bridge was washed away. The river was all around us during the night and cars were hitting the building. We could hear people calling for help and I remember at least one made it into the restaurant somehow and upstairs with us. The town was destroyed in the morning. Our car was gone and a truck took us up to Mt. Rushmore where our parents came and picked us up - not sure how we contacted them.

After that experience we had a major rain in Rapid City the next week (I think it was about a week later anyway) and the sirens went off. We were crossing Mead Road to go to higher ground just in case. Mead road was on a creek bed that was swollen from the flood. It was totally flooded with the creek up over the road. I was riding in a van with some young men who were visiting from Chicago to help with the clean up and staying at our house. The current picked up the van and tossed it into the creek. That itty bitty creek was like a small river. We floated down the creek when someone broke out a window and most of us climbed out. Two of the young men who were with us did not make it out and were killed.



“Jen Blalock (Starrett),” Flood of 1972, accessed December 4, 2023,