Mary Haskett


Written Memory


November 22, 2010


Because my Father was in the Air Force and we were returning to the states, my parents decided on Rapid City because of the Air base. Our home was located the 2nd place across Chapel Lane bridge, just next to Rapid Creek and across from Canyon Lake. I was 11 years old when the flood hit on June 9, 1972. We were all at home and my brother had a friend spending the night. My father was out in the garage working on a car when the friends father came to pick him up, saying we needed to leave because of flooding. My parents didn't have the TV on much, and really just thought it was a terrible thunderstorm. The boys father said they had been trying to call us on the CB radio for quite some time ( he and my parents were members of a group called REACT) and we needed to leave now. I am not sure if it was the urgency in his voice or the water starting to come in the garage that made my parents decide to pack us up. I remember my mother telling me to put my dog and her 3 puppies in a box and set it up on the dryer and they should be fine. There were 5 of us kids, and it didn't take long for my mother to gather us into the car. It just so happened we were the 2nd to the last car across the Chapel Lane bridge before it was completely submerged by water. My parents took us to a friend's house up on higher ground so they could meet up with their REACT group to help in the state of emergency. When my parents returned sometime in the morning they were soaking wet, and looked like they had seen terrible things. My mother said she could hear people crying and couldn't see anyone, she said people were everywhere hanging onto anything they could. There was a baby rescued that was floating in a plastic baby bathtub. We had heard our friend's daughter was baby sitting in the Canyon and her parents couldn't contact her or the family, later she was found deceased laying over a limb in a tree. When the water went down the next day, my family found we had nothing to go home to. The only thing left was a concrete block and a few trees. We had an elderly neighbor lady that said she would ride it out in her attic. A couple of firemen were trying to get her to leave when the high waters hit. The man that was knocking on her door was swept to his death and his boots left as a reminder that he was once there. I remember so many good people during that time of my life. People offered help from all over, even if they didn't have much to give. We ended up living next door to the Gibson store in a HUD Trailer until we could relocate. I have tried not to remember that night, because of some of things I saw afterward. Tonight; I was helping my son do a paper on floods in America for school, and decided to look up the flood of 1972. As I read some of the accounts of that night; I thought it is very important to record the memories not only to remember but to let go. I am now almost 50 yrs old and when it storms I get the same sensation in my heart and mind that I felt that night. I thought we would live in that place at least until we grew up. Now I look at the pictures and see there are no homes at all. I wish I could remember the names of our neighbors, and see our old youthful friends again but nothing ever stays the same and especially after such a devastating thing as the flood of 72.

Mary (1 of the Haskett children)



“Mary Haskett,” Flood of 1972, accessed August 17, 2022,