New book written by former mayor looks back on 1972 Rapid City flood

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — 50 years after floodwaters raged through Rapid City, and following 5 years of writing and editing, former mayor Don Barnett has finished his book.

“And it takes the story of the 1970s in Rapid City. Now that includes, the funding for that Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and then we had the disaster and the grief and the horrible things that happened,” Barnett said.

Thorns and Roses is a 300-page book. It looks back on his time as mayor from 1971 to 1975 and includes the 1972 flood.

“It was a time of sadness but also opportunity and we think the quality of life now 50 years later was worth that sacrifice because we have a safe and a beautiful city,” Barnett said.

Parks like this one, along with bike paths and hiking trails are now located around Rapid Creek. So that no homes could ever be damaged again by a flood.

Bailey Carlsen with Leadership South Dakota says there is a lot to learn from Barnett’s story.

“I’m very interested in what he has to say. History plays an important role in our present and in our future, we have to learn from our history. I’m sure as devastating as this flood was, it was a tremendous lesson and many lessons probably continue to come out of it,” Carlsen said.

“I didn’t write the book to praise me, I wrote the book to praise the city council, the business leaders and the dozens and dozens of volunteers who did everything within their power to make sure Rapid City would survive, we would have a positive attitude and the future would be bright and that’s what I’m talking about in this book,” Barnett said.

The 50th anniversary of the 1972 Flood will be in June of 2022.

Thorns and Roses is released at bookstores in Rapid City. It will expand to Sioux Falls and other parts of South Dakota next year.

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