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History of Rapid City

The discovery of gold in 1874 brought a flow of settlers into the Black Hills. Out of the gold rush grew cities, and other industries became apparent, such as lumbering, ranching and farming.

John Brennan and Samuel Scott, along with a small party of men, came to the area in February 1876. They camped in what is now known as Cleghorn Springs, did some exploring, and decided to lay out the site of the present Rapid City. 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.

There was a steady influx of new families in the new community. Six months later, (in August 1876), over one hundred people called Rapid City their home.

When Rapid City was being built, the people resorted to nearby hills and chopped the logs of which the huts were constructed. The problems of life that confronted the pioneers of the 19th century demanded people of quick action and unflinching courage. It was the time when the elemental law of the "Survival of the Fittest" was in full sway. In those days, a man's horse was often the means of saving his life, and to steal one was considered as great a crime as murder. One of the earliest hangings in the Hills grew out of horse stealing, and the site on which this gruesome event took place is still a historical spot in Rapid City. On a day in June 1877, word got around through a group which had gone into the hills to obtain lumber, that there were either Indians or rustlers north of the settlement. Sheriff Moulton, first sheriff of Pennington County, and a posse set out for the Box Elder Creek region to hunt for the men. They found them asleep in a washout and brought them into town to investigate their possession of six unsaddled horses. Quick punishment was meted out to the horse thieves.

In February 1877, the cowboys gathered at the Colssum and Allen Store and decided to have a dance. It was strictly a stag affair. Bill Morris furnished the only music by playing his fiddle as he perched on the store counter.

According to some records, the first organized religion came to Rapid City in the form of the Union Aid Society in 1878, and later the Congregational Church joined them in 1879. However, we know that the earliest settlers got together on the Sabbath to worship and give thanks. Their meeting place was a crude log cabin structure.

The first train to enter Rapid City was that of the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley (Chicago and Northwestern System). It arrived in 1886 and was greeted by a band of pranksters that staged a mock hold-up which was interrupted by the official welcoming committee.

Out of a campfire conversation in 1876 by a group of disheartened prospectors, the city of Rapid City was born. Named for spring-fed Rapid Creek which flows through the city, Rapid City has become a city with the fastest, steadiest growth rate in the state. Its population, which is as of 2007 was at 69,242, makes it the second largest in the state.

Location
City Distance in Miles
Denver, CO 400
Minneapolis, MN 570
Kansas City, MO 715
Las Vegas, NV 1,143
Omaha, NE 510
Sioux Falls, SD 350
GETTING AROUND THE BLACK HILLS FROM RAPID CITY:
Landmark Distance Estimated travel time
Mount Rushmore 25 miles 40 minutes
Crazy Horse 42 miles 1 hour
Custer State Park 27 miles 45 minutes
Deadwood 45 miles 1 hour
Spearfish 50 miles 1 hour
Wall 50 miles 1 hour
Badlands (exit 131) 70 miles 1 hour 30 minutes
Hot Springs 59 miles 1 hour 15 minutes
Sturgis 30 miles 35 minutes
Keystone 22 miles 35 minutes
Belle Fourche 55 miles 1 hour
Hill City 26 miles 45 minutes
Pine Ridge 109 miles 2 hours 15 minutes
Devils Tower 110 miles 2 hours 15 minutes
Statistics
Population
2008 Rapid City
MSA Population: 120,000
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) - a geographic entity that has at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory with a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties. Rapid City MSA includes Pennington and Meade Counties.
Year Pennington County Rapid City   Year Pennington County Rapid City
2008 95,600 70,092   2000 88,117 59,607
2007 94,900 69,242 1990 81,343 54,523
2006 94,100 67,447 1980 70,135 46,492
2005 93,200 66,000 1970 59,349 43,836
2004 92,500 60,262 1960 58,195 42,399
1950 34,053 25,310
Male Population: 47,675
Male Median Age: 35
Female Population: 47,936
Female Median Age: 38
Households: $38,300
Median Household EBI: $38,852
Average Household EBI: $49,047
Per Capita EBI: $19,663
Average Household Size: 2.43
*EBI (Effective Buying Income) is disposable personal income, amount of gross income available after taxes, to purchase goods/services.
RAPID CITY SALES
(Provided by the SD Dept of Revenue):
Year TOTAL GROSS SALES TOTAL USE TAXABLE SALES TOTAL TAXABLE SALES
2000 3,395,355,542 54,834,615 1,507,876,594
2001 3,807,333,663 55,985,861 1,607,653,214
2002 3,531,471,762 80,522,338 1,717,009,202
2003 3,766,479,907 60,039,017 1,785,512,751
2004 3,810,179,806 58,334,157 1,888,648,140
2005 4,341,746,620 59,065,883 1,952,933,165
2006 4,925,859,402 56,245,215 1,939,491,119
2007 5,028,946,817 64,010,719 2,114,258,269
2008 3,929,175,796 71,143,811 2,180,989,513
HOUSING UNITS
Rapid City Area Home Sales (Average Price as of 01/09):
Property Type Avg Sale Price
Single Family (SF) $181,000
New Construction (NC) $200,000
Townhomes (TH) $150,000
Average Days on Market: SF-80; NC-93; TH-75
Number of Units for Sale: SF-764; NC-171; TH-149
Rental Rates
# of Bedrooms Rental Price
1 Bedroom $511
2 Bedroom $639
3 Bedroom $809

Gil Raben - Owner Broker
Contacts: realty@rapidcity.com Email
1-605-342-7272 Local Phone
Members: Black Hills & National Association of Realtors
Rapid City Chamber of Commerce
Raben Real Estate Corner of 3rd & Main Street 401 3rd street
Mail: Raben Real Estate PO Box 1279 Rapid City, SD 57703

401 - 3rd St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
Licensed in SD - Members: Black Hills and National Association of Realtors, Rapid City Multiple Listing Service, Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Association