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Sioux Sans Hospital

Sioux Sans Hospital

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  • Date Posted: Apr 29, 2014
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  • Address: Sioux San Hospital, 3200 Canyon Lake Drive, Rapid City, SD 57702, USA

Rapid City, South Dakota

Sioux Sans Hospital

History of Rapid City, South Dakota:

The first and perhaps most important event that deserves mention in Rapid City, South Dakota in regard to hauntings and paranormal events is the Black Hills Flood that happened on June 9, in 1972. When we visited Rapid City, many of the locals that we spoke to said that “the whole town seemed haunted”. Before doing our historical research, we really had no reason to believe this was true. However, the Black Hills Flood was a nightmarish event that happened in Rapid City wherein 250 people were killed, over 3,000 people injured and 118 people hospitalized. Damages as a result of the flood were $100 million.

Rapid City is the second largest city in South Dakota with a population of about 60,000 residents. It is located in Pennington County on the western side of the state. It gets its name from the Rapid Creek, which overflowed in the 1972 Black Hills Flood.

Rapid City was established in 1874 when gold was discovered nearby. It was founded in 1876 by a group of disappointed miners. They called the town “Hay Camp” and tried to promote it as the “Gateway to the Black Hills”. Luckily, it soon became a good hub for railroads because of its position at the edge of the Black Hills and the Great Plains. In the late 1890’s the automobile was invented and tourists began patronizing the town which was now called Rapid City. Mount Rushmore National Monument became a reality and Rapid City was thriving. The Great Depression made life difficult, but tourism kept the city alive in the 1930’s.

The Rapid City Army Air Force Base, later known as Ellsworth Air Force Base was opened in Rapid City during World War II, which boosted the economy in Rapid City following the Depression. The city grew and developed through the 1950’s and into the 1960’s.

Then, the worst natural disaster in South Dakota history happened in Rapid City. Fifteen inches of rain fell in 6 hours. Canyon Lake Dam broke in the middle of the night unleashing a wall of water that wiped out homes and buildings, killing people in its path. People who remember the night of the flood tell stories of families leaving their dinner sitting at the table fleeing for their lives, their houses completely washed away after the dam broke. The Rapid City Public Library has an archive of stories about the 1972 Black Hills Flood.

Following the devastation, Rapid City cleared the area around Rapid Creek and made it into a public park. New homes and businesses were built atop the rubble.

Today, Rapid City is considered the “Gateway to the Black Hills” and serves as an important tourist destination for people visiting this area.

The Sioux San Hospital has a fascinating past. It functioned as a boarding school for Indians in 1898 when it was first built. The purpose of the boarding school was to reprogram the “savages” into civilized people. The Sioux San was unfortunately a very unhappy place for the children who were forced to live here. Many of them were abused. Some of them died and were buried on site. The school was closed in 1933.

Between 1933 and 1939, the main building of the school burned down. It was replaced with the large building now occupying the site. In 1939, the Sioux Sanitarium was opened to treat Native Americans suffering from tuberculosis. It was an unpleasant place to be forced to live. There were a number of abusive events that happened in the sanitarium and people worked to have the sanitarium closed down.

Later, it was converted into a hospital treating Native Americans. As of 2010, the Sioux Sans Hospital is empty. Folks in Rapid City are unsure about whether to demolish or renovate this structure with such a dark past. It remains in limbo.

Ghosts and Hauntings in Rapid City, South Dakota:

Employees and visitors have reported paranormal events on the third floor of the Sioux Sans Hospital. Disembodied voices and ghostly crying sounds have been heard by a number of people at the hospital. Ghostly patients have been seen walking about the hospital by nurses who watch them disappear in a mist.


Rowley, S. (n.d.). From Rapid City Indian School to Sioux San Hospital Part I. Retrieved January 28, 2011 from

Rowley, S. (n.d.). From Rapid City Indian School to Sioux San Hospital Part II. Retrieved January 28, 2011 from

The Shadowlord (1998). The Shadowlands Haunted Places Indexs: South Dakota. Retrieved January 24, 2011 from

Wikipedia (2011). Rapid City, South Dakota. Retrieved January 28, 2011 from,_South_Dakota

Wikipedia (2011). Black Hills Flood. Retrieved January 28, 2011 from (2005-2009). Sioux Sans Hospital. Retrieved January 28, 2011 from

Sioux San Hospital, 3200 Canyon Lake Drive, Rapid City, SD South Dakota 57702, USA

Sioux San Hospital, 3200 Canyon Lake Drive, Rapid City, SD South Dakota 57702, USA

    1 Comment

  1. The Sioux San is still a working outpatient hospital!! It is not empty or closed and we are not wondering what to do with it! It is actually going to be renovated in the next few years. Please edit your facts.

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