Rapid City, South Dakota
|City of Rapid City
Mni Luzahan Otowan
|Pennington County and the state of South Dakota|
|• Mayor||Sam Kooiker|
|• City||55.49 sq mi (143.72 km2)|
|• Land||55.41 sq mi (143.51 km2)|
|• Water||0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)|
|Elevation||3,202 ft (976 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||69,854|
|• Density||1,226.4/sq mi (473.5/km2)|
|• Metro||138,738 (US: 290th)|
|Time zone||Mountain (UTC−7)|
|• Summer (DST)||Mountain (UTC−6)|
|Zip code||57701, 57702, 57703, 57704, 57709|
|GNIS feature ID||1265333|
Rapid City is the second-largest city in the State of South Dakota, and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The town is called Fast Water Mni Luzahan by the American Indian, Lakota people who have inhabited the lands long before the Western Culture perpetrated genocide. This majority of the homeless and those living below the poverty line are American Indians, the Lakota people in Rapid City and the surrounding areas. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Rapid City is known as the "Gateway to the Black Hills" and the "City of Presidents". The city is divided by a mountain range that splits the western and eastern parts of the city into two. Ellsworth Air Force Base located on the outskirts of the city. United States Army National Guard, Camp Rapid is located in West Rapid. In the nearby towns are Custer alongside Custer State Park, the Historic old west town of Deadwood is nearby. In the hills nearby Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial are located.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Healthcare
- 5 Education
- 6 Sports
- 7 Art and culture
- 8 Sister cities
- 9 Industry and economy
- 10 Transportation
- 11 Infrastructure
- 12 Suburbs
- 13 Local media
- 14 Places of interest
- 15 Noteworthy people
- 16 References
- 17 External links
The public discovery of gold in 1874 by the Custer Expedition brought a mass influx of settlers into the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Rapid City was founded (and originally known as "Hay Camp") in 1876 by a group of disappointed miners, who promoted their new city as the "Gateway to the Black Hills." John Brennan and Samuel Scott, with a small group of men, laid out the site of the present Rapid City in February 1876, which was named for the spring-fed Rapid Creek that flows through it. A square mile was measured off and the six blocks in the center were designated as a business section. Committees were appointed to bring in prospective merchants and their families to locate in the new settlement. The city soon began selling supplies to miners and pioneers. Its location on the edge of the Plains and Hills and its large river valley made it the natural hub of railroads arriving in the late 1880s from both the south and east. By 1900, Rapid City had survived a boom and bust and was establishing itself as an important regional trade center for the upper midwest.
Although the Black Hills became a popular tourist destination in the late 1890s, it was a combination of local efforts, the popularity of the automobile, and construction of improved highways that brought tourists to the Black Hills in large numbers after World War I. Gutzon Borglum, already a famous sculptor, began work on Mount Rushmore in 1927 and his son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the carving of the presidents' faces in rock following his father's death in 1941. The work was halted due to pressures leading to the US entry into World War II and the massive sculpture was declared complete in 1941. Although tourism sustained the city throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s, the gasoline rationing of World War II had a devastating effect on the tourist industry in the town, but this was more than made up for by the war-related growth.
The city benefited greatly from the opening of Rapid City Army Air Base, later Ellsworth Air Force Base, an Army Air Corps training base. As a result, the population of the area nearly doubled between 1940 and 1948, from almost 14,000 to nearly 27,000 people. Military families and civilian personnel soon took every available living space in town, and mobile parks proliferated. Rapid City businesses profited from the military payroll. During the Cold War, missile installations proliferated in the area: a series of Nike Air Defense sites were constructed around Ellsworth in the 1950s. In the early 60s the construction of three Titan missile launch sites containing a total of nine Titan I missiles in the general vicinity of Rapid City took place. Beginning in November 1963, the land for a hundred miles east, northeast and northwest of the city was dotted with 150 Minuteman missile silos and 15 launch command centers, all of which were deactivated in the early 1990s.
In 1949, city officials envisioned the city as a retail and wholesale trade center for the region and designed a plan for growth that focused on a civic center, more downtown parking places, new schools, and paved streets. A construction boom continued into the 1950s. Growth slowed in the 1960s, but the worst natural disaster in South Dakota history, the Black Hills Flood led to another building boom a decade later. On June 9, 1972, heavy rains caused massive flooding of the Rapid Creek. More than 250 people lost their lives and more than $100 million in property was destroyed.
The devastation of the flood and the outpouring of private donations and millions of dollars in federal aid led to the completion of one big part of the 1979 plan: clearing the area along the Rapid Creek and making it a public park. New homes and businesses were constructed to replace those that had been destroyed. Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and a new Central High School were built in part of the area that had been cleared. The new Central High School opened in 1978, with the graduating class in that year straddling both the original Central (housed in what is now Dakota Middle School) and the new Central. The rebuilding in part insulated Rapid City from the drop in automotive tourism caused by the Oil Embargo in 1974, but tourism was depressed for most of a decade. In 1978, Rushmore Mall was built on the north edge of the city, adding to the city's position as a retail shopping center.
In 1980 in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the government of the United States had illegally stolen the Black Hills from the Sioux people when the government unilaterally broke the treaty that guaranteed the Black Hills belonged to the Sioux. The court decision offered money, but the Sioux declined on principle that the theft of their land should not be validated, and still demand the return of the land. This land includes Rapid City, which is by far the largest modern settlement in the Black Hills. As of 2010, the dispute has not been settled.
In the 1980s, growth was fueled by an increase in tourism, increasingly tied to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, followed by another decline in the late 1990s. Fears for the closure of Ellsworth AFB as part of the massive base closure process in the 1990s and 2000s led to attempts to expand other sectors of the economy, but growth continued and the city expanded significantly during this period.
Today, Rapid City is South Dakota's primary city for tourism and recreation. With the approval of a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at the Homestake Mine site in nearby Lead, Rapid City has a future of great advancements in technology, medicine, and scientific research.
1972 Rapid Creek Flood
On June 9–10, 1972, extremely heavy rains over the eastern Black Hills of South Dakota produced record floods on Rapid Creek and other streams in the area. Nearly 15 inches (380 mm) of rain fell in about 6 hours near Nemo, and more than 10 inches (250 mm) of rain fell over an area of 60 square miles (160 km2). According to the Red Cross, the resulting peak floods (which occurred after dark) left 238 people dead and 3,057 people injured. In addition to the human tragedy, total damage was estimated in excess of $160 million (about $821 million in 2009 dollars), which included 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles that were destroyed. Runoff from this storm produced record floods (highest peak flows recorded) along Battle, Spring, Rapid, and Box Elder Creeks. Smaller floods also occurred along Elk Creek and Bear Butte Creek. Canyon Lake Dam, on the west side of Rapid City, broke the night of the flood, unleashing a wall of water down the creek. The 1972 flooding has an estimated recurrence interval of 500 years, which means that a flood of this magnitude will occur on average once every 500 years. Every year there is a 0.2 percent chance (1 in 500) of experiencing a similar event. To prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future, the city's flood plain is no longer allowed to be built upon. Today the flood plain features golf courses, parks, sports arenas, and arboretums where neighborhoods and businesses once stood.
In 2007, the Rapid City Public Library created a 1972 Flood digital archive that collects survivors' stories, photos and news accounts of the flood. The Journey Museum has an interactive display on the 1972 flood which is an ongoing project to give future generations the best idea of how the people were affected and the changes made to it because of the loss of 238 lives. It will in the future include the biographies of all of those who died so they will be remembered as more than names on a memorial.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.49 square miles (143.71 km2), of which, 55.41 square miles (143.5 km2) of it is land and 0.08 square miles (0.2 km2) is water.
Rapid City is located on the eastern edge of the Black Hills, and is split in half by the Dakota Hogback. Rapid City's "Westside" is located in the Red Valley between the foothills of the Black Hills proper and the Dakota Hogback, so named for the red Spearfish formation soils and the way the valley completely circles the Black Hills. Rapid City has grown up into the foothills, with both ridges and valleys developed, especially in the last 20 years, and wildfire is a distinct threat to these residential areas, as shown by the Westberry Trails fire in 1988.
Skyline Drive follows the summits of the Dakota Hogback south from near Rapid Gap (where Rapid Creek cuts through the Hogback) to a large high plateau which forms the current south edge of Rapid City. The Central and Eastern portions of Rapid City lie in the wide valley of Rapid Creek outside the Hogback, which includes a number of mesas rising a hundred feet or more above the floodplain.
Rapid Creek flows through Rapid City, emerging from Dark Canyon above Canyon Lake and flowing in a large arc north of Downtown. Rapid Creek descends to the southeast as the valley widens. The floodplain of Rapid Creek is mostly a series of parks, arboretums, and bike trails, one legacy of the Black Hills Flood of 1972. To the north, a series of ridges separates Rapid Creek from Box Elder Creek, with large older and new residential areas and commercial areas along I-90. To the south, the terrain rises more steeply to the southern widening of the Dakota Hogback into a plateau dividing the Rapid Creek drainage from Spring Creek.
Rapid City features a steppe climate (Köppen BSk). Its location makes its climate unlike both the higher elevations of the Black Hills and the Great Plains to the east. It is characterized by long arid summers and long dry winters, with short but distinct spring and autumn seasons.
Winters are cold and dry, with December, with a daily average temperature of 24.9 °F (−3.9 °C), being the coldest month in recent years; however, Chinook winds can warm temperatures above 50 °F (10 °C), doing so on average about 20 times from December to February. Temperature inversions, however, occasionally produce warmer temperatures in the Black Hills. The low temperature reaches 0 °F (−17.8 °C) on an average 16 nights. Snowfall is frequent but usually not heavy; March and April are typically the snowiest months, and the seasonal total averages 41 inches (104 cm). Extensive snow cover does not remain for long, with only 9 days per year of 5 inches (13 cm) or more on the ground.
Compared to locations in the east, spring warms rather gradually, with snow activity generally ceasing by May and precipitation totals beginning to increase. In the latter half of spring, storms typically develop over the Black Hills during the afternoon and move onto the plains in the evening. However, Rapid City still sees an average of 20 clear to partly cloudy days and 65 percent of its possible sunshine in June. This is the traditional "flood" season for Rapid and other creeks in the Eastern Hills. Temperatures warm rapidly as summer approaches.
Summer in Rapid City is hot, relatively dry, and sunny. July is the warmest month of the year, having a daily average temperature of 72.6 °F (22.6 °C). There is an average of 31 days with 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs and 4.5 with 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs. Due to the elevation and aridity, lows rarely remain at or above 70 °F (21 °C) and during summer occasionally lower to 50 °F (10 °C). Rapid City records an average of 9 thunderstorm days in August, but only 1.56 inches (40 mm) of rain in that month.
Fall is a precipitous transition season, with the average first freeze in Rapid City is October 4 and late August through September in the Black Hills. The Rapid City area's first snowfall is usually in October, although higher elevations sometimes receive significant snow in September. Occasional cold fronts moving through the area bring blustery northwest winds.
Sunshine is abundant in the region, averaging 2850 hours, 65% of the possible total, per year.
Rapid City holds a record for an extreme temperature drop of 47 °F (26 °C) in 5 minutes on January 10, 1911. Extremes also range from −31 °F (−35 °C) on February 2, 1996 up to 111 °F (44 °C) on July 15, 2006.
|Climate data for Rapid City, South Dakota (Rapid City Regional Airport), 1981−2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)||76
|Average high °F (°C)||37.1
|Average low °F (°C)||12.9
|Record low °F (°C)||−27
|Precipitation inches (mm)||.30
|Snowfall inches (cm)||4.4
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||5.4||5.7||7.6||9.5||11.7||12.3||9.5||7.7||7.0||7.2||5.3||5.4||94.3|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||5.4||5.8||5.3||4.4||.4||0||0||0||.4||1.5||4.1||5.8||33.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||164.3||175.2||232.5||246.0||272.8||312.0||334.8||322.4||261.0||226.3||156.0||148.8||2,852.1|
|Source: NOAA (extremes 1942−present), HKO (sun only, 1961−1990) |
As of the census of 2010, there were 67,956 people, 28,586 households, and 16,957 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,226.4 inhabitants per square mile (473.5 /km2). There were 30,254 housing units at an average density of 546.0 per square mile (210.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.4% White, 1.1% African American, 12.4% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.
There were 28,586 households of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.
The median age in the city was 35.6 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 25% were from 45 to 64; and 14.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 59,607 people, 23,969 households, and 15,220 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,336.7 people per square mile (516.1/km2). There were 25,096 housing units at an average density of 562.8 per square mile (217.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.33% White, 0.97% African American, 10.14% Native American, 1.00% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.73% from other races, and 2.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.77% of the population.
There were 23,969 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $35,978, and the median income for a family was $44,818. Males had a median income of $30,985 versus $21,913 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,445. About 9.4% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
Rapid City is a major medical care center for a five-state region, centered around the Rapid City Regional Hospital and the Indian Health Service's Sioux San Hospital. Other smaller, independent medical facilities have been established in the area, including the Black Hills Surgery Center, The Heart Doctors, The Spine Center at Rapid City, Setliff Sinus Institute, Black Hills Eye Institute and Regional Behavioral Healthcare. Two Veterans Affairs hospitals are located nearby at Fort Meade, and Hot Springs. Emergency medical services (EMS) are provided by the Rapid City Fire Department. Emergency medical transportation by rotor and fixed wing aircraft is provided by Black Hills Life Flight, operated by Air Methods Corp. based in Denver, CO. Rapid City is also home to a number of non-profit public health organizations that engage in survey and clinic research, epidemiology, and area-based health promotion disease prevention. The Health Education and Promotion Council and Black Hills Center for American Indian Health are two notable non-profit organizations.
Rapid City institutions of higher education include the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Oglala Lakota College's He Sapa College Center, West River Graduate and Undergraduate Center (South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota), National American University, Western Dakota Technical Institute, Black Hills Beauty College, John Witherspoon College, and several small sectarian preacher training schools. Black Hills State University is located in nearby Spearfish, and offers several classes in Rapid City. The South Dakota state nurse training program is also based in Rapid City. There are two public high schools in the city, Central High School and Stevens High School. The city also has an alternative high school; Rapid City Academy, and at least four Christian high schools including Saint Thomas More, Rapid City Christian High School, Liberty Baptist Academy and Open Bible Christian School.
Rapid City Area Schools
The local public schools fall under the Rapid City Area Schools school district. There are two major high schools within the district. They are Central High School and Stevens High School. The middle schools include newly founded East Middle School, North Middle School, South Middle School, Southwest Middle School, and West Middle School. There are 16 elementary schools within the district. These are Black Hawk, Canyon Lake, Corral Drive, General Beadle, Grandview, Horace Mann, Kibben Kuster, Knollwood Heights, Meadowbrook, Pinedale, Rapid Valley, Robbinsdale, South Canyon, South Park, Valley View, and Woodrow Wilson.
- The most successful of South Dakota's sports programs, Rapid City Post 22 American Legion Baseball has won dozens of state titles and made several appearances in the American Legion Baseball World Series, winning a title in 1993. Recently the Former Post 22 head coach Dave Ploof stepped down after 47 years. The new head coach Mitch Messer was unable to reach the state championship game in his first year at the helm of the baseball program.
- The Rapid City Thrillers was a professional basketball club that competed in the Continental Basketball Association beginning in the 1987-1988 season through the 1996-1997 season.
- The Black Hills Posse was a professional basketball club that competed in the International Basketball Association beginning in the 1995-1996 season.
- The Black Hills Gold was a professional basketball club that competed in the International Basketball Association during the 1999-2000 season.
- The Rapid City Flying Aces is an indoor football team that competed between 2000 and 2006 in the Indoor Football League, United Indoor Football, and National Indoor Football League, changing names from season to season.
- The Rapid City Rush is a minor league hockey team in the CHL.
- The Rushmore Hockey Association is the home of youth hockey in Rapid City, competing in the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association. The Rushmore Thunder won 2010 State Championships for Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Pee Wee B.
- There is also another American legion baseball team in Rapid City Rapid City Post 320 Stars they have yet to win a state championship.
Art and culture
Because of the importance of tourism in the area, and its extensive market area, Rapid City has many cultural resources usually found only in much larger urban areas. Among these are:
- Alternative Fuel Coffeehouse
- The Journey Museum
- Museum of Geology
- Dahl Arts Center
- The Rapid City Public Library
- The Rapid City Knowledge Network
- Heritage Festival
- Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
- Black Hills Playhouse
- Storybook Island Theater
- Art Alley Gallery
- Black Hills Community Theatre
- Black Hills Symphony Orchestra
- Black Hills Chamber Orchestra
- Prairie Edge Art Gallery
- Chapel in the Hills
Rapid City also has a large amount of public sculpture on display in many parts of the city. The most visible is "The City of Presidents" - a series of life-sized bronze statues representing each of the American presidents. The statues are located on street corners in the downtown area. Five South Dakota artists created the statues: Edward E. Hlavka, Lee Leuning, John Lopez, James Michael Maher, and James Van Nuys. These statues are being erected by public subscription over a ten-year period between 2000 and 2010.
Industry and economy
Rapid City's economy is diverse, but has only a moderate amount of industry. Heavy and medium industrial activities include a Portland cement plant (constructed and owned for 84 years by the State of South Dakota and sold in 2003 to GCC, a Mexican-based conglomerate), Black Hills Ammunition an ammunition and reloading supplies manufacturing company, several custom sawmills, a lime plant, a computer peripheral component manufacturing plant, and several farm and ranch equipment manufacturers. Of particular note, Rapid City is the center for the manufacture of Black Hills gold jewelry, a popular product with tourists and Westerners in general. Rapid City is also the location of the only manufacturer of stamping machines used for the labeling of plywood and chipboard products.
Although most gold mining has ceased in the Black Hills and was never done in or near Rapid City, mining of sand and gravel, as well as the raw materials for lime and Portland cement (including chemical-grade limestone, taconite iron ore, and gypsum) remains an important part of the economy.
The largest sector of the Rapid City economy is government services, including local, state, and federal. Major employers include Ellsworth Air Force Base, home of the 28th Bomb Wing flying the B-1B long-range bomber; the Army National Guard based at Camp Rapid and hosting annual exercises in the Black Hills drawing troops from five to ten states; and various federal agencies including the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Indian Health Service.
The Rapid City Regional Hospital Healthcare System covers one of the largest expansions of territory in the United States. The health care sector employs over 8,000 persons in the Rapid City area.
Tourism is also a major portion of the Rapid City economy, due to the proximity of Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Deadwood, and other attractions in the Black Hills. Rapid City is the major source of services for the Motorcycle Rally, and the Rally's demand for motel rooms, camp sites, and other services for tourists during the first week of August means that Rapid City has the capacity to host large conventions and large numbers of tourists year-round. Various minor tourist attractions, including wildlife parks, specialty shops, caves, water parks, private museums, and other businesses are found in and near Rapid City.
Other economic sectors include financial service and investing companies such as Waddell and Reed, Citibank, WaMu, Merrill Lynch, and Northwestern Mutual. Rapid City is the headquarters for Assurant Insurance's pre-need division and Rapid City has a strong medical services sector, and institutions of higher education. Rapid City is also the major market town for much of five states, drawing commerce from more than half of South Dakota, and large portions of North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and the Nebraska Panhandle.
Rapid City is a major transportation hub for the Northern Plains. Rapid City Regional Airport provides flights to the airline hub cities of Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa and Chicago. The airport also has extensive General Aviation operations, including wildfire fighting activities and medical flight support to Rapid City medical facilities and Indian Health Service operations in the Dakotas.
Historically, Rapid City was served by three railroads. Presently, the city is served by the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (DM&E), now owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The DM&E serves the Northern Black Hills and heads south into Nebraska. DM&E lines run east to Minnesota and south through Nebraska to connect with major transcontinental railroads Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific. South Dakota does not have Amtrak service, one of the few states that doesn't.
Rapid City's central location allows easy transport of products to both coasts, and trucking is a major business activity in the city. Improved connections with Denver and I-80 to the south, via the Heartland Expressway now under construction will primarily benefit local trucking.
Rapid City's location on the boundary of the Western and Eastern power grids, together with the hydroelectric plants of the Mainstem Dams on the Missouri River and the large coal fields and power plants of the Powder River Basin of Wyoming make it one of the points where the two national power grids connect with each other, allowing switching of electrical power from east to west and vice versa.
- Interstate 90 is the primary east-west route for Rapid City. Rapid City is served by a series of 7 exits. I-90 skims the northern side of Rapid City. The South Dakota DOT has been reconstructing most of these interchanges in the last five years.
- Interstate 190 is an Interstate spur linking downtown Rapid City to Interstate 90.
- US Highway 16 is the main route to the southwest and the Black Hills from Rapid City. It links Rapid City to Custer and then west to Newcastle, Wyoming, where it connects to US Highway 85 for travel to Cheyenne and Denver. Reconstructed as a four-lane parkway connecting Rapid City to Mount Rushmore in the mid-1960s, major segments have been rebuilt as three-lane or "super-two" highways in the past decade, to support increased tourist traffic.
- South Dakota Highway 44 is a state highway that links the interior of the Black Hills to the southwest of Rapid City, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and nearby areas in the Great Plains to the southeast.
- South Dakota Highway 79 is a state highway that is multiplexed with I-90 northwest of Rapid City. SD Highway 79 extends to North Dakota. South of Rapid City to Nebraska, Highway 79 is being reconstructed as the Heartland Expressway, a high-speed four-lane highway which will eventually connect to Interstate 80 in Nebraska and the Colorado Front Range near Denver. The Heartland Expressway may eventually be extended along US Highway 85 north to Regina, Saskatchewan, to create an additional major north-south artery through the Great Plains which would pass through Rapid City.
Rapid City's location on the boundary of the Western and Eastern power grids, together with the hydroelectric plants of the Mainstem Dams on the Missouri River and the large coal fields and power plants of the Powder River Basin of Wyoming make it one of the points where the two national power grids connect with each other, allowing switching of electrical power from east to west and vice versa. Rapid City has its own coal-fired power plant, but also obtains much of its power from both the Missouri dams and power stations near Gillette, Wyoming. Electrical rates are considered relatively low.
Rapid City obtains most of its water supply from Rapid Creek and the alluvial aquifers associated with the creek, owning significant water rights in Pactola Reservoir located some 15 miles (24 km) west of the city, but does also obtain water from some springs in the vicinity, and has the ability to draw water from deep formations which receive water from recharge in areas of the Black Hills where the formations come to the surface. The heavy dependence on shallow alluvial aquifers is of some concern to planners, as most suburbs of Rapid City use septic systems for domestic sewage treatment. However, water supplies remain relatively good for future growth.
The Rapid City Regional Airport operates at below maximum capacity for general aviation and commercial aviation, and is capable of handling all current commercial passenger and cargo aircraft.
Rapid City no longer has passenger rail service. Rail cargo service is limited: the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern provides connections to other cities in South Dakota and Minnesota, and connects to major rail service along the Mississippi River corridor, but the DM&E also connects to major transcontinental rail lines to the south, in Nebraska and Wyoming.
Rapid City has limited city-to-city bus service along I-90, but many charter bus services operate in the area, and connect Rapid City and Deadwood with cities in Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa. Rapid City does have a municipally-owned bus service with multiple bus stops and a headquarters in the city.
The estimated 2007 population of the Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Area (consisting of Pennington County and Meade County) was 120,279. Most cities and towns in the Black Hills and the surrounding plains have a significant percentage of their population which commute to and from Rapid City, and many residents of Rapid City work in outlying towns. Among the nearer suburbs in Pennington and Meade Counties:
- Ashland Heights
- Rapid Valley
- Piedmont Valley
- Box Elder
- Colonial Pine Hills
- Rimrock Area
- Johnson Siding
- Whispering Pines
- Moon Meadows
Communities at a greater distance from Rapid City include:
|AM radio stations|
|Frequency||Call sign||Name||Format||Owner||City of License||Broadcast Market|
|580 AM||KZMX||580 Country||Country||Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting, Inc||Hot Springs||Rapid City|
|810 AM||KBHB||Five State Ranch Radio||Farm||New Rushmore Radio, Inc||Sturgis||Rapid City|
|920 AM||KKLS||97.5 The Hills||Contemporary Hits||New Rushmore Radio, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|980 AM||KDSJ||Oldies||Goldrush Broadcasting, Inc||Deadwood||Rapid City|
|1150 AM||KIMM||Big Kim Country||Classic Country||Gunslinger Radio, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|1340 AM||KTOQ||K-Talk AM 1340||News/Talk||Haugo Broadcasting, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|1380 AM||KOTA||Radio 1380 KOTA||News/Talk||Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprises||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|FM radio stations|
|Frequency||Call sign||Name||Format||Owner||Target city/market||City of license|
|88.3 FM||KLMP||The Light||Christian||Bethesda Christian Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|88.7 FM||K204FB||Community Radio
|Lakota Communications Inc.||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|89.3 FM||KBHE||South Dakota Public Broadcasting||NPR||SD Board of Directors for Educational Telecommunications||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|89.9 FM||KQFR||Family Radio||Christian||Family Stations Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|90.3 FM||KASD||American Family Radio||Christian||American Family Radio||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|91.3 FM||KTEQ||K-Tech||Alternative||Tech Educational Radio Council||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|91.7 FM||K218DX||CSN International||Christian
|CSN International||Rapid City||Box Elder|
|92.2 FM||KQRQ-FM||Q92.3||Classic Hits||New Generation Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|93.1 FM||KRCS||Hot 93.1||Top 40||New Rushmore Radio, Inc.||Rapid City||Sturgis|
|93.9 FM||KKMK||Magic 93.9||Hot AC||New Rushmore Radio, Inc.||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|95.1 FM||KSQY||K-Sky||Album Oriented Rock||Haugo Broadcasting, Inc||Rapid City||Deadwood|
|95.9 FM||KZZI||The Eagle||Country||Duhamel Broadcasting||Rapid City||Belle Fourche|
|96.3 FM||K242BK||The Eagle||Country||Duhamel Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|97.1 FM||KFND-LP||Religious||Calvary Chapel of the Black Hills||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|97.5 FM||K248BT||97.5 The Hills||Adult Contemporary||New Rushmore Radio, Inc.||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|97.9 FM||KTPT||The Point||Christian Rock||Bethesda Christian Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|98.7 FM||KOUT||Kat Country 98.7||Country||New Rushmore Radio, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|99.5 FM||KRKI-FM1||99-5 The Range||Classic Country
|Badlands Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|100.3 FM||KFXS||100.3 The Fox||Classic Rock||New Rushmore Radio, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|101.1 FM||KDDX||X-Rock||Active Rock||Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprises||Rapid City||Spearfish|
|101.9 FM||KFMH-FM1||Oldies 101.9||Oldies
|Badlands Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|102.7 FM||KXMZ||Hits 102.7||Hot AC||Pandora Radio||Rapid City||Box Elder|
|103.5 FM||K278AN||X-Rock||Active Rock
|Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprises||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|104.1 FM||KIQK||Kick 104||Country||Haugo Broadcasting, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|104.7 FM||K284BA||Hot 93.1||Top 40
|New Rushmore Radio, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|105.1 FM||KAWK||The Hawk 105.1||Adult Contemporary||Haugo Broadcasting, Inc||Rapid City||Custer|
|105.7 FM||K289AI||The Light||Christian
|Bethesda Christian Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|106.3 FM||KZLK||She 106.3||Hot AC||Steven E. Duffy||Rapid City||Custer|
|106.7 FM||K294BT||Big Kim Classic Country||Country
|Gunslinger Radio, Inc||Rapid City||Rapid City|
|107.3 FM||KSLT||Power 107.3||Christian Contemporary||Bethesda Christian Broadcasting||Rapid City||Spearfish|
|107.9 FM||K300AX||Power 107.3||Christian Contemporary
|Bethesda Christian Broadcasting||Rapid City||Rapid City|
- KOTA-TV 3 ABC (ATSC 2)
- KEVN-TV 7 Fox (ATSC 18)
- KBHE-TV 9 PBS (ATSC 26)
- KCLO 15 CBS (ATSC 16)
- KNBN 21 NBC
- KKRA-LP 24 MyNetworkTV/ION
- KWBH-LP 27 The CW
- KCPL-LP 52 Independent
- Rapid City Journal
- Rapid City Weekly Report
- Patriot (Ellsworth AFB Bulletin)
Places of interest
- Dinosaur Park
- Hart Ranch
- Reptile Gardens
- Bear Country USA
- Storybook Island
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- The Journey Museum and Gardens
- Rapid City Public Library
- Rushmore Mall
- Catherine Bach - Born in Cleveland, Ohio, actress, best known as Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard
- Shane Van Boening - Professional billiards player
- Dave Collins - Outfielder in Major League Baseball from 1975 to 1990
- Mark Ellis - Starting second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Jack van der Geest - Born in The Hague, Netherlands, Holocaust survivor, author of Was God on Vacation?
- Dick Green - Born in Sioux City, Iowa, professional baseball player
- Becky Hammon - WNBA player for San Antonio Silver Stars and the Russian national team
- Carrie Ingalls - Born in Montgomery County, Kansas, younger sister of author Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Lawrence Lessig - Lawyer, Stanford professor, founder of the Creative Commons, moved to Eastern United States as a child.
- Eric Piatkowski - Born in Steubenville, Ohio, NBA player and former Nebraska Cornhusker
- Kelvin Torve - Major League Baseball player for the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets
- Adam Vinatieri - Born in Yankton, S.D., NFL kicker for the Indianapolis Colts, formerly of the New England Patriots
- David Hallberg - Principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater and the Boshoi Ballet
- John Sherrill Houser - Painter and sculptor, born in Rapid City.
- Sean Doolittle - Professional baseball player
- Emily Graslie - Curiosity Correspondent for Chicago Field Museum and YouTube educational program host.
- Hasselstrom, p. 331.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- The Brookings Institution. "Retiring a Minuteman ICBM (LGM-30F)". U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
- Giago, Tim (2007-06-03). "The Black Hills: A Case of Dishonest Dealings". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2007-10-26.
- "The 1972 Black Hills-Rapid City Flood Revisited". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
- (Burr and Korkow, 1996)
- U.S. Census Bureau. Census 2000, Summary File 1. GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000 - County Subdivision and Place, "Pennington County". American FactFinder. <http://factfinder2.census.gov>. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Station Name: SD SIOUX FALLS". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Rapid City, South Dakota, United States of America". Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "Climatological Normals of Rapid City". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2010−05−14.
- Lyons, Walter A (1997). The Handy Weather Answer Book (2nd ed.). Detroit: Visible Ink press. ISBN 0-7876-1034-8.
- "Threaded Extremes". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- U.S. Census Bureau. Census 2000. "QT-P1. Age Groups and Sex, Rapid City". American FactFinder. <http://factfinder.census.gov>. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- U.S. Census Bureau. Census 2000. "Census Demographic Profiles, Rapid City" (PDF). CenStats Databases. <http://censtats.census.gov/data/>. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- "Rapid City Area Schools". Rapid City Area Schools. Archived from the original on 2007-12-22. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
- visitrapidcity.com, Rapid City South Dakota Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rapid City, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-11-15.
- Created by SD Constitutional Amendment, 1919.
- "Rapid City: Economy". City-Data.com. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2007 (CBSA-EST2007-01)" (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- Hasselstrom, Linda M. (1994). Roadside History of South Dakota. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87842-262-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rapid City, South Dakota.|
- Rapid City government website
- Rapid City Visitors Bureau
- Yesterday's News blog "Residents had only minutes to flee," Minneapolis Tribune, June 11, 1972