Don Barnett discusses 1972 flood in new book
RAPID CITY, S.D. — With the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Rapid City Flood being seven months away, Don Barnett has written a book about being mayor during that catastrophic time.
He will be appearing at the Journey Museum for the next three nights to discuss his experiences during his first two years as mayor.
After returning from duty in Vietnam, Barnett was elected mayor in 1971 at the age of 28 and the next year he was overseeing the rebuilding and re-structuring of a city that lost 238 people, including four first responders.
He told NewsCenter1 Wednesday afternoon what he’d like people to take away from his talk at the Journey.
“We better understand that about 80 percent of the people who live in Rapid City right now were not alive or did not live in Rapid City at the time of the flood,” Barnett said. “I want those people to have an understanding of community disaster, community death…238 people. We lost three firemen and one policeman. And it was a a terrifying moment. I want those people to understand that this flood plain through the city didn’t happen by accident. And our whole theory is, the flood plain is a great place for recreation and a stupid place to sleep.”
Don Barnett will share his memories and the inside story in his book “Thorns and Roses” Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights at the Journey Museum, 7:00 p.m. each night, and admission is free.