RAPID CITY GARDEN CLUB
Perhaps it was because the country was war-weary that 27 persons organized the Rapid City Garden Club, January 30, 1947. One of their earliest projects as a club was placing the first Blue Star marker when Highway 85-85A was designated a Blue Star Memorial Highway in 1949. Soon after they placed a second Blue Star Highway marker near the Pactola Rest Area.
Blue Star Memorial Highways are a tribute to the armed forces that have defended the United States of America. The concept, began in 1944, was promoted by the National Garden Club and state garden clubs were asked to participate and support it. These markers have been placed on highways from the Atlantic to the Pacific, including Hawaii and Alaska. Many, like those in the Black Hills, stand today where they were placed over 60 years ago.
In the six-plus decades of its existance, the Rapid City Garden Club's projects have included trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers, bulbs, benches, picnic tables, sidewalk additions and gazebo construction, construction of the butterfly garden at Canyon Lake, grants to local schools, scholarships and much, much more. In all ways, the club has functioned to support its purpose: "our purpose is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening; to aid in the protection and culture of trees, shrubs, and flowers; to encourage development and beautification of the home grounds; to study plant materials and plant designs; and to improve the landscape and conserve it natural beauty."