By Rita Fraune
Our hands-on museum board is in the process of revamping several displays. A new exhibit was created when the memorabilia from the Provo School and Black Hills Ordnance Depot, or Igloo as it more commonly known, was moved to its own display room.
In 1942, the Black Hills Ordnance Depot was established near Provo, South Dakota. The depot was used as a reserve facility to store ammunition and general supplies. It was also used for function testing, renovation, and demilitarizing of ammunition, including chemical ammunition. The depot was known by several names, including Igloo, the Black Hills Army Depot and the Black Hills Ordnance Depot.
As an Army facility, Army officers and enlisted men as well as civilians were involved in operating the depot. Numbers varied over the years but there were many dependent children within the community. The government constructed post housing, then a hospital. A six-room high school was constructed in 1943. Grade school students had classes in various buildings on the post. $152,000 was used to build an addition in 1944, which gave adequate space for the grade school students at the same location. Even though it was located on the military post the Provo School District administered the school and the school was known as the Provo School.
The school was in existence from 1943 to 1968. When the facility was closed, the class pictures, trophies and other memorabilia were donated to the Pioneer Museum in Hot Springs by the Provo School Board, a charter member of the museum. This year that material was moved to a new display area in a former cloakroom. The photos are now at eye level. High school annuals and a BHOD scrapbook for reading are available in a sit-down display area. Please stop in and visit the exhibit. If you have anything to donate to the exibit, the museum would appreciate it.
"Igloo: A History of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot," can be purchased at the museum for $12.50 or online via www.pioneer-museum.com. Read about this fascinating piece of history in South Dakota.
The above is from the Pioneer Museum in Hot Springs Newsletter of Dec. 2009. Their web site is www.pioneer-museum.com and at the current time their link to the newsletter takes you to the previous issue. The article includes three images that will be available on the link.
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