Guide to the Fall River County Historical Society Papers at the Leland D. Case Library of Western Historical Studies

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Fall River County Historical Society
Title: Fall River County Historical Society Papers
Dates: 1941-1967
Quantity: 3 box(es) (1.25 linear feet)
Collection ID: Fall River County Historical Society- Igloo: a History of the Black Hills
Repository: Leland D. Case Library of Western Historical Studies
E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Center
Black Hills State University
Spearfish, SD 57799

Biographical Note

In 1982, the Fall River County Historical Society sponsored a series of programs on the history of towns in the county. One of these programs, “Memories of Igloo,” took place in June. This meeting about the story of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot sparked the greatest interest and best attendance of the series.

Established in 1942, the Black Hills Ordnance Depot was a major base for the storage, maintenance, function testing, renovation, and demilitarizing of ammunition, including chemical ammunition. The Black Hills Ordnance Depot was known by several official and unofficial names, including Provo, Igloo, and Black Hills Army Depot. The loyalty former residents feel for the community is in evidence each year when members gather at annual “Igloo picnics” in Rapid City and other areas, and when Provo High School alumni come together for their reunion, a yearly event for the past sixteen years. The site for the Black Hills Ordinance Depot was chosen lat in 1941. The Depot was to provide 1,500,000 square feet of space for long-time general reserve storage of ammunition including storage of ammunition containing lethal gas.

Construction began in the spring of 1942, and in spite of the fact that progress was virtually at a standstill in April and May because of excessive rain the last igloo magazine was poured on 6 September and all were completed by 10 October 1942. During the peak of activity 5400 construction workers were employed.

On 6 May 1942 the Ordnance Department assumed control of the Depot. The peak of activity in shipping and receiving was reached during the quarterly period Jan., Feb., and March 1945 when a total of 3, 184 carloads were handled.

Reduction in force of civilian workers began late in 1945 and continued through 1946 and 1947, when employment became stabilized at approximately 650 to 700 workers.

During the Korean emergency shipping activities increased to the point where it was necessary to go on two and three shift operations. The number of personnel employed increased to about 1300 for the years 1951 and 1952. After this time there was a general reduction of personnel and in 1958 there were 650 workers, with a total population of 1800 for the community.

The primary mission of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot is to serve as a reserve depot for the receipt, storage and issue of ammunition including propellants and components of guided missiles, and Chemical Corps Toxic ammunition. The ammunition is stored in 801 igloo-type magazines, with open storage sites between igloos and 12 standard magazines. These storage facilities are located in the 19,000 acre restricted area.

Small arms ammunition and inert ammunition components are stored in the Combat Material Area- 1500 acres of warehouses and outside storage space.

BHOD also has a reserve receipt, storage and issue mission for general supply items. These items-repair parts, supplies, tools and equipment- are stored in the Combat Area.

Another phase of the mission is the maintenance in storage of the ammunition and the performance of surveillance inspection and testing of all lots of ammunition.

Scope and Contents

Magazines, Manuscripts, Typescript, etc., Maps, Photographs, Miscellaneous correspondence, Newspaper clippings, programs, etc, Notes, High School Annual, Master Plan, Reports, Telephone Directory.

Acquisition Information

Received on December 1985

Preferred Citation

Fall River County Historical Society Papers, Leland D. Case Western Historical Studies

Processing Information

Dora Jones

Inventory

Box 1: Igloo Area History Project- Reference Material, The Walrus 1951-1957, The Igloo Magazine 1944-1947, The Bhodian, Rattler: 1945 High School Annual, Master Plan, Completion Report 1942-1943, 1963, Welcome to BHOD, Igloo, SD (1958) Black Hills Army Depot-telephone Directory. Box 2: Files and Records of the Igloo Area History of the BHOD Box 3: Typescript 1941-1967, photographs, page proofs, miscellaneous correspondence, newspapers clippings, programs, etc., Notes.

Box Folder
1 1 Igloo: A History of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot [page proof]
2 Igloo: A History of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot [photographs]
3 Igloo: A History of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot [typescript]
4 Hot Springs Star summary by Kathleen Twomey
5 Hot Springs Star summary by [Marie Truax]
6 BHOD
7 Igloo: A History of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot [miscellaneous -research]
8 News clippings
9 Philadelphia Inquirer, reprint November 3, 1983
Box Folder
2 1 I A 2 Domestic war projects
2 I A 3Area prior to establishment
3 I B 1Decision to locate depot in FRC
4 I B 1Decision to locate depot in FRC
5 I B 3 Construction
6 I C 1 Personnel
7 I C 2 Official activities
8 I C 3 Social and family life, schools & churches
9 I C 4 Effect on surrounding communities
10 I C 5 Italian POWs
11 II A 1 Post war period
12 II A 2 Korea
13 II B Changes in operations
14 II C 1 Personnel
15 II C 2 Official activities
16 II C 3 Social and family life, schools & churches
17 II C 4 Effect on surrounding communities
18 III A 1 Post (Korean) War period
19 III B Changes in operations
20 III C 1 Personnel
21 III C 2 Official activities
22 III C 3 Social and family life, schools & churches
23 III C 4 Effects on surrounding community
24 III D 1 Reasons for closing
25 III D 2 Attempts to retain
26 III D 3 Actual closing
27 III D 4 Effects on personnel
28 III D 5 Effects on surrounding community
29 III E Summation
Box Folder
3 1 Directory (undated)
2 Completion report completion date December 1942 report date August 19, 1943
3 Completion report completion date May 15, 1943 report date August 19, 1943
4 Completion report completion date December 31, 1942 (no report date)
5 Master plan basic information Analysis of existing facilities December 1963
6 Master plan basic information maps