Gateway to the Black Hills
Founded by down-on-their-luck gold miners in 1876, the city was established as a hay camp and wholesale center for the mines, towns and camps involved in the burgeoning Black Hills Gold Rush.
With its pivotal location between the Forested Black Hills and the plains to the east, Rapid City became “town“ for miners, loggers, ranchers and farmers throughout the region. Today, Rapid City remains a key center for agriculture, tourism, medical services, military, manufacturing, research, retail, financial services and other industries.
The city, with over 70,000 residents, has offices for large financial services firms such as Assurant, Green Tree Servicing and Synchrony. It is also the headquarters for Black Hills Corporation, a large Midwestern energy and utilities company.
Just outside town is Ellsworth Air Force Base. Regional Health, which operates Rapid City Regional Hospital and smaller facilities across the region, is western South Dakota’s largest healthcare provider. South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is one of the nation’s top engineering and research schools.
Rapid City’s role as the Gateway to Mount Rushmore, with more than 2 million visitors a year, is apparent in the city’s lively downtown. Amid the shops, restaurants and retail stores, you can find full-size bronze statues of all 43 past U.S. presidents.
Rapid Creek runs the length of the city, flanked by a 9-mile bike path and greenway. The creek is one of the few urban waterways that support a naturally reproducing trout population. Two hogback ridges, Dinosaur Park Hill and M Hill, bisect the city. Both are largely devoted to outdoor recreation.