Black Hills Area Floods - 1877 to 1890

Science Center Objects

Black Hills Area Floods - 1877 to 1890

Look under the Multimedia table for pictures and more information regarding the event date and location, flow data (if available), a brief summary of the event, and links to available photographs or scanned newspaper articles.

The oldest account available for this period is for 1877 when a heavy rainstorm caused flooding in Deadwood. Several floods are documented for 1878 and include a peak flow of 7,500 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) on Rapid Creek. Flooding along Beaver Creek caused 11 deaths in June 1879. Benchmark flooding occurred in 1883, with extremely high flows reported throughout the northern Black Hills that resulted from heavy rainfall on top of snowmelt. Flooding occurred within the Fall River Basin on August 27, 1884. Widespread flooding in the Black Hills area occurred in 1890.



Fielder, Mildred, 1964, The Stagebarn Canyon flood: True West, January-February 1964, p. 45, 51.

Johnson, H.N., 1949, A climatological survey of the Black Hills: Rapid City, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Black Hills Engineer, v. 29, no. 1, p. 3-35.

Miller, J.R., 1986, Rapid City climate: Rapid City, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Foundation, 66 p.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2008, The Rapid City flood of 1972—historic Black Hills floods, accessed December 12, 2008, at

South Dakota Historical Society, 1960, South Dakota Department of History—Report and historical collections: Stickney, S. Dak., Argus Printers, v. 30.

Tallent, Annie, D 1899, The Black Hills; or, The last hunting ground of the Dakotahs:  St. Louis, Mo., Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 713 p.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1950:  Cold Brook Dam and Reservoir, Fall River and tributaries, South Dakota, Analysis of design:  Department of the Army, Fort Peck District, 127 p.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1966:  Cottonwood Springs Creek Dam and Reservoir, Fall River Basin, South Dakota, Design Memorandum no. CS–10:  Department of the Army, Omaha District, 17 p.