Philip Doherty


Written Memory


I'm Philip Doherty. My birthday is June 12, 1962. It has been 36 years now but I still can remember this event pretty well. I had moved to Rapid City with my family in the beginning of May 1972. I still remember when my parents showed me the house next to the creek on Jackson Blvd. I begged them to pick that one. I can't remember the address but it was the house next to the house that belonged to the people that owned Reptile Gardens. When I looked at a sat. picture of the area (which is what brought out all this out pouring of memories) I noticed that where my house used to be looks like a parking area for the very expanded golf course. The very large house next door is still there, possibly now part of the golf course. Well, my parents did buy the house and we moved the last part of May.
I remember the night of the storm very vividly. My sister and I were home while my parents had gone to a dinner with friends. We were watching TV. I remember starting to see the warning broadcasts about severe weather. At the time I did not realize that Rapid city was dead center of the area being warned. It had been raining for a while, pretty heavy at times. Then the rain started coming down harder than I had ever seen. I remember the lightning and thunder increasing. Then storm was right on top of the house (that's how it felt) the lightning would flash as bright as daylight and the thunder claps would follow with no delay. They were deafening. My sister was crying and I was scared to death. I made a frantic call to parents and begged them to come home. They said they would come home directly. It took them about a half hour to make it home. Mean while the storm increased intensity. While we were downstairs watching TV I noticed water had started rising up on the double glass doors. It got around a foot high and I told Kelley to come upstairs and we waited for the parents to come home. The rain was so hard that it looked like it was pouring out of the sky. Jackson Blvd. was a torrent of running water six inches deep. The creek had risen well over its bank at this time and was starting to flood over the retaining wall behind our house. My parents made it home finally. The water was up about three feet high on the glass door down stairs. My mom started to put clothes and stuff by the front door while my dad was bringing stuff upstairs from the lower part of the house, much of it still in moving boxes. I was on the back deck keeping an eye on the creek. It had risen up to the bottom of the bridge next to our house. I saw an object float by and smash against the bridge, then two more. They were paddle boats from canyon dam lake. My dad had just started back downstairs when the glass door finally shattered under the weight of the water and muddy water started flooding the lower level of the house. We quickly took the stuff mom had stacked by the front door out to the car in the driveway and left the house down a very flooded Jackson Blvd. to head to my dad's boss's house. I found out later we left the house about 20 minutes before the dam let go.
We spent about 2 weeks at my dad's boss's house. I spent most of the time helping dad remove mud from the lower floor of the house. I would manage to sneak way occasionaly to explore the area around the house. I remember going out to the golf course across the creek and going around and finding trapped trout in the sand traps and low areas of the course and throwing them back into the creek. We even found two of the big trout from the hatchery in a flooded pool near the golf course. I still to this day can remember the first day after the flood. The two older sons of my dad's boss and myself walked down from their house to go look at ours. When we got there, there was a whole other house on the front yard. It had floated off its foundation and up to Jackson Blvd., made a right turn on Jackson Blvd., and a couple of hundred yards and stopped on our front yard. I asked my dad but he said we couldn't keep it. We eventually moved back into the house after boarding up the stairwell leading to the lower level. We stayed there about a year before building a new house up high in the hills.
While it was a grand adventure for a boy just about to turn 10 year old, using hind sight I would have traded it for something far less exciting.
Memories from a young survivor.



“Philip Doherty,” Flood of 1972, accessed September 28, 2022,