The Flood of '72: Fifty Years Later

The Flood of '72: Fifty Years Later

The devastating flood of June 1972 had an unforgettable impact on Rapid City, SD and the surrounding communities, both physically and emotionally. Now, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the event, we’d like to take the opportunity to look back and reflect. In this series of podcasts, we will examine archival materials, revisit witness accounts, and hear firsthand from some of the survivors themselves.

Episodes

June 13, 2022 14 min

Duane Quick Bear recounts escaping onto his roof with his siblings the night of the flood, finding inspiration in his younger brother's bravery, and making several decisions that saved their lives.

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Craig Smith speaks on behalf with his parents, sister, and aunt & uncle, all of whom perished in the deadly flood of June 9, 1972. 

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Ron Kuecker of Webster, SD was among the SD National Guardsmen in the Badlands for annual training in June 1972. Ron and his friends helped 66 people climb to safety atop a motel roof on Omaha Street when the flood hit.

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Seven-year-old Kurt Lentz was vacationing in the Black Hills with his family. They returned to their campground in Keystone after a day in Rapid City as it rained. But when someone pounded on their camper door late that night, Kurt knew something had gone wrong.

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Bruce McKirdy and his siblings survived the night of the flood while their parents were away. They lived at Storm Mountain near Rockerville, where they lost several cabins, but not their lives.

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Bill Hauser was working the night shift at the Standard gas station near Baken Park when the Canyon Lake dam water surged through the area, sending the sixteen-year-old into survival mode for himself, his family, and his customers.

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Derek Leonard became stranded between Rapid City and Nemo when a bridge washed out on Nemo Road.

Interview conducted June 2022.

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Reverend Jay Harris talks about volunteering for the search and recovery of the deceased and the lessons he learned in the aftermath of the Flood of '72.

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Marlyce Miner left Rapid City just as the town lost power and returned to learn her mother's survival story. Terry Painter survived by avoiding the flood waters not once but twice, and Karen Bulman volunteered for the Red Cross in the aftermath of the disastrous flood of June 9-10, 1972.

Narration by Sean Collins, Stacy Wierenga, and Adrian Ludens.


Music by Scott Buckley "What We Don't Say", Alec Koff "The Dark Ni...

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David Moore’s parents lost both their home and business in the Flood of ’72. David got a job with the City of Rapid City Urban Renewal, who helped clear the flood plain and relocated residents and businesses. Their job was to help Rapid City recover, rebuild and grow. 

Narration by Baylee Schultz
Interview conducted May 2022 by Adrian Ludens

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Michael DeMersseman and some friends were driving behind a police cruiser on Omaha Street the night of June 9th. When flood waters lifted and spun the police car toward them, Michael’s night took a harrowing turn… 

Narration: Terri Davis
Interview conducted May 2022 by Adrian Ludens

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Larry Van Boening's experience on the roof of his house adjacent to Canyon Lake, and Sandra (Lockhart) White Shield's experiences on the east side of town, and later, in Dark Canyon, and throughout Rapid City during and after the disastrous flood of June 9-10, 1972.

Narration by Jules Kittleson and Brady Jones.

Music by Scott Buckley "What We Don't Say", Alec Koff "The Dark Night", Argsound "Tense Cine...

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Bert Corwin watched the ominous storm clouds west of Rapid City from his front yard the evening of June 9, 1972. He had no way of knowing that, tragically, the next day Bert would have to visit a mortuary to identify three family members who had perished in the flood. 

Narration by Brady Jones.
Interview conducted May, 2022 by Adrian Ludens.

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Kenneth Hargens made it through the flood of June 9, 1972 with home intact and loved ones safe. When the call for volunteers came, Kenneth stepped forward, taking on the grim task of searching debris for deceased citizens. 

Narration by Krista Licht
Recorded May 2022, Interviewer: Adrian Ludens

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Seventeen year old Sam Bice lived with his family--and delivered the newspaper--in the Braeburn addition in 1972. He talks about what happened the night of the flood, the heavy death toll among his neighbors, and the odds things he found in the days following catastrophe.

Sam Bice was born in Chamberlain, South Dakota and moved to Rapid City in 1960 where he has resided since. He joined the family business where he was a water well ...

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During and after the catastrophic flood of June 9, 1972, members of the South Dakota National Guard --many of whom were already in the region for annual training-- were mobilized for rescue, recovery, and cleanup. 

Narration by Scott Hall and Rebecca Hall.

Music by Joey Pecoraro "Jazz Apricot", Aerohead "Fragments", Luke Hall "Dystopia", Hyde "Acoustic Folk Instrumental", RYYZN "Waited", Scott ...

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Deborah Kuehn had finished work and was home at her parents’ the night of June 9, 1972. Her mother, Yvonne was working at Bennett-Clarkson hospital that night, and her father, Jim, was vice president and co-editor of the Rapid City Journal, and was keeping tabs on the situation. The family lived on Selkirk, just a few blocks from Jackson Blvd, and took in many people displaced by the flood.

Bio: Deb Kuehn moved back to Rapid City in...

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Lyndal and Sally Nelson's experience on Cambell Street adjacent to Rapid Creek, Carol Engel's experience on St. Joe near MDU, and Steve Swanson's experience near Baken Park, and later, near Star Village during the disastrous flood of June 9-10, 1972.

Narration by Katherine Marmer, Krista Licht, and Lucille O'Grady.


Music by Scott Buckley "What We Don't Say", Alec Koff "The Dark Night", Argsound ...

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This is the account of Michael E. Dennis, who was caught in the flood on Omaha Street. He and others survived the night by reaching and climbing onto the roof of the only house in the neighborhood that withstood the rushing waters.

Narration by Courtney Ludwig
Account read by Adrian Ludens

Dramatic Orchestral by JP Bianchini https://jpbianchini.com Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0 Free Download / Stream: http://...

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