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FORUM: Take time to reflect on Rapid City's history

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Did you know Jackson Boulevard is named for Dr. Robert Jackson, Rapid City’s mayor from 1910 to 1912 and who practiced medicine for 52 years? He resigned due to work commitments and often complained of having to deal with matters such as chickens invading neighbors’ yards. He also deeded Canyon Lake to Rapid City, stipulating no motorboats would disturb the peace and quiet of the lake.

Did you know Flormann Street is named after pioneer businessman and mining claim swindler Robert Flormann, who helped develop several portions of downtown Rapid City? Or that long before there were Cobblers and Raiders, local high school students were nicknamed ‘Tigers’?

This year marks the 125th anniversary of South Dakota’s statehood. This is a special time for Rapid City area residents to learn and reflect on our great state’s history, and learn more about the community we call home. It’s a great way to learn about the life and times of local pioneers — the challenges they faced and the rewards they witnessed as Hay Camp grew into the Gateway City to the Black Hills.

Rapid City has faced obstacles, challenges and tragedies, like the 1972 flood. But it faced those challenges head on and our state’s second-largest city has experienced tremendous growth and revitalization. People who lived in Rapid City prior to June 9, 1972, can see how the city has been transformed.

Knowing where we are and where we are headed has its roots in where we’ve been. Rapid City’s rich culture and tradition, like the people of South Dakota, are embedded in the hard-working spirit of its past and present residents. Those traits are rooted in our community’s history, from the hard-working efforts of pioneer families who settled here, to the rich traditions of our Lakota residents, to the enduring friendly and compassionate attitudes of generations of our citizens.

Please take the opportunity over the next few weeks to learn more about Rapid City’s history. Rapid City is marking the statehood anniversary with events featuring South Dakota presenters, musicians and movies concluding later this month. Go to for an events schedule.

Today, Nov. 8, is a highlight of the statehood observance locally. Events begin at 2 p.m. with dedication of the new Memorial Park Promenade and Legacy Commons followed at 3 p.m. with a tree dedication and filling of a time capsule at the Journey Museum. Citizens can complete note cards for placement in the time capsule. Speaker Wayne Gilbert will depict the life of pioneer and former mayor Valentine McGillycuddy at 3:30 p.m., followed by tours of the museum and Pap Madison Cabin.

Rapid City’s past, present and future will be on display during this celebration. You might even learn a few tidbits of history to surprise and educate your friends and family.

Did you know REO Speedwagon was the first concert in the Civic Center Arena on June 10, 1977, performing 11 days before Elvis’ grand-opening concert? It’s part of Rapid City’s history.

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