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HISTORICAL PHOTOS & DOCUMENTS

Online collections of pictures tell the history of our area and allow the viewer to experience the past. These collections are from many sources, including the Digital Library of South Dakota and the Library of Congress.

Rapid City Library Digital Archives

The Rapid City Public Library hosts a collection of digital archives on PastPerfect. On this site, you'll find historical photos, documents, and books about the region's history, including items on the 1972 Rapid City flood, Native Americans, pioneers, the construction of Mount Rushmore, and more.

1972 Flood Archive

On June 9, 1972, a disastrous flood swept through Rapid City and the Black Hills, taking the lives of 238 residents and resulting in millions of dollars in damage. The library's 1972 Flood site consolidates information about the flood, including photographs, oral histories, written memories, radio and television broadcasts, and additional resources.

Picture Rapid City's Past

The Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission has created a website that, along with a Walking Tour Map, provides a historic view of many buildings in downtown Rapid City. QR Codes have been provided at many local businesses, such as the Duhamel building, and Alex Johnson Hotel.

"#3663 A Pretty Group at an Indian Tent." Taken near Pine Ridge by John C.H. Grabill, 1891.

South Dakota State Historical Society Archives

The State Archives of the South Dakota State Historical Society collects and maintains records pertaining to the history of South Dakota. The collection includes photos, manuscripts and government documents on a wide variety of topics. The collection includes a South Dakota Flood History interactive map. Search from the home page to find all items by subject.

Digital Library of South Dakota

The Digital Library of South Dakota is a collaboration of the libraries of seven Board of Regents colleges and universities in the state of South Dakota. Access images from the participating colleges' collections here. Each member of the consortium provides access to a variety of special collections.

Oglala Lakota College Library Archives

This collection contains documents and photographs relating to the Oglala Lakota College, the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. The OLC Archives also collects, preserves and makes accessible historical and cultural records of the Oglala Lakota people, the Lakota Nation, and other Native Americans.

Library of Congress Digital Collections

This project is a "gateway to the Library of Congress’s vast resources of digitized American historical materials. Comprising more than 9 million items that document U.S. history and culture, American Memory is organized into more than 100 thematic collections based on their original format, their subject matter, or who first created, assembled, or donated them to the Library." Type any search term you are interested in such as 'Black Hills' or 'South Dakota' into the search box in the top left area of the screen. The Library of Congress Flickr page also contains thousands of images. Click here to access their Flickr page.

John Grabill Collection at the Library of Congress

Comprised of the largest surviving collection of western photographer John Grabill, this Library of Congress digital archive documents the South Dakota gold rush, the Oglala Lakota people, and the settlement of western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Photographs in collection were taken between 1887 and 1892.

Rapid City Community Archives Survey (pdf)

Many of the best photographs and most important documents that tell the history of our community are in boxes, file drawers and basements in businesses, churches, service clubs and organizations in Rapid City. The Rapid City Community Archives Survey offers you a glimpse into these fascinating collections.