General Rapid City Information

Learn More About Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, named for the limestone spring stream that passes through the city, was founded 1876 by a group of disheartened prospectors that had come to the Black Hills in search of gold. John Brennan and Samuel Scott, along with a small party of men, laid out the site of the present-day Rapid City. They designated six blocks in the center of the site to be the business district and appointed committees to convince prospective merchants and their families to locate in the new settlement. Throughout the years, Rapid City has grown to be South Dakota’s second largest city.

The economic base in Rapid City remains fundamentally the same as it was in the 1800's. Since its beginning, Rapid City has been a center for commerce, culture, transportation and education. Rapid City enjoys a diverse economy that includes agriculture, forestry, government, tourism, healthcare, manufacturing and an extremely strong service sector. The city is also the tourist center of the Black Hills and the gateway to many attractions, including Mount Rushmore National MemorialCrazy Horse Memorial, the Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park.



• Rapid City is the county seat of Pennington County.

• The latitude of Rapid City is 44.080N. The longitude is -103.23W. The geographic center of the United States is located about 60 miles northwest near the town of Belle Fourche. 

• Rapid City is in the Mountain Standard time zone and its elevation is 3,241 feet above sea level. 

• The estimated population in 2010 was 67,956. 

• On June 9, 1972, heavy rains caused massive flooding of Rapid Creek creating a flash flood that killed more than 250 people and created millions of dollars in property damage. 

• Rapid City has a large amount of public sculptures on display in many parts of the city. The most visible is “The City of Presidents" - a series of life size bronze statues of past American presidents. 

For more information on Rapid City and its history, view these sites: