It was a dark day on June 9, 1972, in South Dakota. Heavy rains pelted the Black Hills. The water had nowhere to go. Previous rains left the ground saturated.

Before the clouds lifted on June 10, 238 people had perished in the floodwaters making it one of the worst flooding incidents in United States history.

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The thunderstorms refused to budge and the system stalled out over a small area of the Black Hills. Rapid Creek swelled beyond capacity and the Canyon Lake Dam failed after being clogged with debris.

The water rushed into Rapid City around midnight on June 9 ruining over 500 businesses instantly. Over 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles were mangled in a heap that the rest of the nation could not wrap their head around.

1972 rapid city flood
NOAA (public domain)

In addition to 238 people who lost their lives, there were 3,057 injuries to those who woke to one billion metric tons of floodwaters crashing into the western South Dakota town.

One unidentified Rapid City resident said  "...the only thing above water is the hilltops. I guess it just ... I guess we gotta couple troubles."

Another survivor said, "A man knocked at our door and said, 'Get out as fast as you can.' We grabbed the children and my dad's crippled and we picked him up and put him in the car, and just as we drove out the driveway, a big trailer started floating right across the pathway, and we just made it up the hill and that was all it was. Everything was gone."

Many residents returned on the 11th of June to an empty, wet parcel of land where their house once stood.

Numbers and quotes from Wikipedia and National Weather Service records.

Dives Worth a Drive in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota

Almost every small South Dakota town has a watering hole. It’s where the locals go to kick back a few brews and engage in conversation.

Some of these establishments are located in buildings almost as old as the town itself. There might be a fresh coat of paint on the walls or new vinyl on the booth seats, but the ambiance is still reminiscent of a good ol’ dive.

If you think a "dive" is all about the sketchy clientele, the smell of the Devil’s lettuce, and stale Grain Belt, you’d be wrong. Not every dive has a bad reputation.

What makes a dive, a dive?

A dive has character. Neon beer signs and local memorabilia adorn the walls.

You might find a pool table, dart board, and a few video lottery machines.

The bartender knows the regulars by name and they know what you drink.

Some dives don't even serve food except for bags of chips and pickled eggs that sit in a jar of brine on the bar.

Dives aren't fancy. You might see 70's-style wood panels on the walls and wobbly tables leveled with a folded napkin.

Finally, the bathrooms. The bathrooms in dives are in a class by themselves and could be a whole topic on its own. 

There are several small-town dives in our area with friendly faces, cheap booze with a burn, and even really good food! We use the term "dive" in the most affectionate way.

Here are some of the best and why you should go there.


South Dakota's Weird Exotic Animal Laws Are Amazing

Have an interesting pet or looking to get one? Check this out from South Dakota Exotic Animal Laws before you go trying to adopt one.

You will need a zoo permit to harbor a raccoon dog. That's a real species. It's a small wild dog with a black facial mask and long fur, native to the forests of Asia.

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