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New sign explains history of Skyline Wilderness Park amphitheater

A new plaque in Skyline Wilderness Park explains the history of what remains of the...
A new plaque in Skyline Wilderness Park explains the history of what remains of the amphitheater there. (KOTA)
Published: Jun. 17, 2019 at 6:03 PM CDT
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Have you ever seen the big horizontal excavations in the hillside in Rapid City's Skyline Wilderness Park and wondered what the heck they were doing there?

Well now there's a plaque up along the trail to let you in on one of Rapid City's little secrets.

There's this strange pattern of cuts in the hillside. Like big steps heading going up a giant, well, amphitheater. Turns out that's just what it is. Way back in the 1930's, Depression era workers carved theater seating into the hillside as part of a Works Progress Administration project. At one point it was thought that the Black Hills Passion Play could be lured form its perch in Spearfish to the site.

Now, as part of earning Eagle Scout status, Grayson Tech has researched a the amphitheater and installed a plaque explaining it.

"I knew it was here but I never really knew what it was," said Ben person who was out for a walk in the park Monday afternoon. "I've always kind of known it was back here but I never really knew the history of why it was here, how it got here. I think it's really cool that people can now learn kind of a little bit of history of why this odd structure is back here that you wouldn't find in most places."

The amphitheater was never finished as the WPA came to an end when the country entered World War II.