Commercial hub: Rapid City was founded in 1874 when the Custer Expedition found gold in the Black Hills. Referred to then and now as “The Gateway to the Black Hills,” the city was named after nearby Rapid Creek. Though originally a mining town, the geologic attributes of being in a river valley near the Black Hills and on the plains led to Rapid City’s growth into a center for trade and commerce in the upper Midwest.
Tourism hub: Rapid City is also known as the “City of Presidents” due to its proximity to Mount Rushmore (and perhaps also because of the bronze statues of each and every past U.S. president lining the streets of downtown). Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, and the historic town of Deadwood also are within easy reach from Rapid City, making it a veritable Midwest travel hub.