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The Edgemont Tribune; Dec. 20, 1944; Prospects are bright that a standard church will be moved from Camp Phillips, Kansas, to the BHOD in the near future.

The Edgemont Tribune; Jan. 24, 1945; It was also announced (by Col. Keasler) that the new chapel for the B.H.O.D. is now assured and that arrangements are being made to move it to the BHOD at the earliest possible date.

The Edgemont Tribune; Feb. 7, 1945; Word has just been received by Col. Keasler that the new Church at Igloo will be of brick construction at a cost of $30,000 and will seat about 500 people. This will be a truly welcome addition to our "town" with its many impermanent buildings.

The BHODian

BHODian page 16 April 1945

Church Life


The first mass on the Depot was said by the Rev. Clarence N. Biever on November 29, 1942, at an improvised alter set up on the stage of the old Lance Theater, which later became the Post Theater. There was an attendance of 187. Father Biever continued to serve the Catholics of the Depot, as weather and roads permitted, until the work was taken over by the Rev. John G. Groell of Edgemont, because of the close proximity of the Depot to Edgemont and because an all-weather road connects the two places. Father Groell received his appointment as Auxiliary Chaplain of the Catholics on the Area from Archbishop Francis J. Spellman of New York. Services under Father Groell were first held in what was formerly M41, now 140, and later in Building 3. When the new Community Building was opened, the Catholic congregation occupied Room 9 until the change in status of the Italian prisoners of war to members of the Italian Service Companies, before which regulations forbade the mixing of the two congregations. Room 9 proving inadequate for the combined congregations, services were moved to Room 3, where they have been held ever since. During their service here as prisoners of war, the Italians were ministered to by Father Beiver, beginning with Easter Sunday, 1944, and until their release.

Low mass is celebrated each Sunday morning in Room 3 at 9:30, catechism is held in Room 9 at 4:30; and rosary, benediction and sermon the same evening in Room 3. The civilian Catholic congregation numbers between 500 and 600.


The Rt. Rev. W. Blair Roberts, Episcopal Bishop of South Dakota, held the first Episcopal services and, incidentally, the first church services of any sort on the Depot, on August 4, 1942. The services were held in the library, which at that time occupied the east end of the PX, part of the space now taken by the drug store. On May 2, 1943, the Rev. Frank M. Thorburn of Pine Ridge began to hold regular monthly services on the Depot and has continued to do so. Services are held the first Sunday of each month at 8:00 p.m. in Room 9 of the Community Building. The Bishop makes a yearly visit for confirmation. The congregation numbers approximately 75.


Lutheran services for the workers at the Black Hills Ordnance Depot were first held late in 1942 by the Rev. C. W. Uecker of Custer, S. Dak. The Rev. Waldemar A. Thiele took up full time work here in March, 1943. He continued serving the church until January, 1945, when he accepted a call to Cloquet, Minnesota. He has been succeeded by the Rev. Eugene W. Beltz, who was ordained and installed February 18, 1945, in Room 9 of the Community Building. This was the first ordination to be held on the Depot.

The services, held every Sunday at 10:45 a.m., are attended on the average by 60 people. The growth, however, has been rapid, so that recently members of the church organized into a congregation. Paavo M. Warvi is President; William Barton, Vice-president; and Curtis Schennun, Secretary Treasurer. Clement McCloskey, Ove Ursin, and F. G. Herdman are members of the Church Council.

The Sunday School of the Church has an enrollment of 83 with six teachers. Classes meet every Sunday morning at 9:30. There are divisions for the beginners, primary, intermediate, and senior classes.

A Ladies' group, the Mary and Martha Circle, is also open to members of the community. At present 30 women belong to the organization and hold their meetings the first Tuesday of the month in the Community Building.

outdoor service
BHODian page 17 April 1945


The Ordnance Interdenominational Church is a local organization with no affiliation with any parent body. It is the outgrowth of a Sunday School which was superintended by Mrs. Helen Matteson Parliament under the auspices of the American Sunday School Union. Mrs. Parliament was later succeeded by Miss Fannie Vanderveen, who has continued to serve in that capacity. In this Sunday School many denominations were represented. It being the pioneer in the religious field on the Depot, the need of an established church presented itself, a church in which all could worship regardless, of their affiliation and without affecting their membership in their own church at home. For a time guest speakers were invited from here on the Area and other communities. This proved inconvenient and inadequate, and it was decided to call Rev. H. A. Tiffany to minister to them and to help organize.

The first service was held Sunday morning, May 9, 1943, in the north wing of the Mess Hall. The first resident minister moved on to the Area and took up his duties May 30th, Memorial day. Immediately a temporary organization was set up, which was know as the Nondenominational Group. This served to acquaint the people with each other and with the need. When this was accomplished the elective body met and elected the proper officials, chose their present name and established the permanent organization. They gave their Pastor an official call to fill out the year 1943, and have twice since extended that call by unanimous vote. By their liberal support and cooperation, they have seen a vision materialize.

It is with gratitude that mention is made of the splendid cooperation of Colonel Keith, Commanding Officer, at the time the church was organized, of various other officers; of Special Service, in making places available for services when buildings were so scarce and rooms at a premium; and of Miss Adelaide Ward, Superintendent of Schools, who obtained permission of the Provo School Board for the use of the new School auditorium until the new Community Building was ready.


The Victory Bible Band was organized a year ago by Mrs. Claude A. Parliament. It is an independent religious group which meets once a week on Saturday morning at 10:30 in the Community Building. It is nonsectarian, has an average attendance of 40 to 50, and is devoted to the training of its members, especially the children, in the principles of right conduct and good living.

As the BHODians press forward toward the goal of Victory, more and more is needed the inspiration that comes from the conviction that our cause is just and right. Many people, harassed by the doubts and worries of a war-torn world, have gained inspiration as their eyes raised and caught a glimpse of the cross-crowned Sunrise Hill overlooking the depot and site of yearly sunrise Easter services.

In this drawing, Roma Beach of the depot staff suggests that those humans toiling and struggling at this War Ordnance depot on the formerly desolate prairies of western South Dakota realize that, although their immediate task is to provide the materials for the gods of war, it is only a means to an end, so that they and those to follow them may be free to serve more abundantly the Prince of Peace.


Oh Mary Mother, meek and mild, When you beheld your infant Christ, Did you, I wonder, then foresee The long, dark road to Calvary?

Or see the crimson-shadowed mark On tiny hands, and in the dark, Breathe a sigh that He should be The Chosen One at Galilee?

Oh Mary, I know just a part Of the sadness in your Mother-heart As you prayed...."Thy will be done...." For, Mary, I too......had a son.....

Hazel Granger Madill

cross on hill

The Edgemont Tribune; April 11, 1945; On Thursday, March 29, ground was broken for the new church, which will stand just north of Rushmore Road and west of the road leading to the Water Treatment Plant. It is to be a frame structure with concrete foundations. It will be moved from Camp Hale, Pando, Colo., and wrecking operations on that building will be begun in a matter of days. It is expected that the church will be transported to the depot and ready for occupancy within 45 days. The new church will be 96 ft. long by 37 ft. wide and will have a seating capacity of approximately 320, with a gallery for the organ and choir. It will be constructed with asbestos-shingled siding and will be white.

The Edgemont Tribune; July 18, 1945; July 8, marked the dedication of the new Chapel.

During the early 40's there was a tremendous buildup to World War II. Large amounts of money, manpower and materials were used to build shipyards, airplane plants, tank and truck factories, explosive manufacturing facilities, storage depots, etc. Many of workers that helped build this infrastructure were soon induced into the services and needed training camps. One of the training camps was located at Pando, Colorado and it specialized in mountain training. This camp, Camp Hale, was where the famed 10th Mountain Division was trained.

As the troops were deployed overseas many of the camps were abandoned and the buildings became available for other bases and uses. Black Hills Ordnance Depot was in need of a chapel and acquired one of the chapels from Camp Hale in 1945. In a document that was put together in 1993 for the clean-up work at abandoned bases, it states that a chapel, theater and mess hall were disassembled at Camp Hale, modified and rebuilt at BHOD. A chapel, theater and another building which was used as a skating rink and other uses were built during the same time period. I have not found any further reference to the theater and old mess hall coming from Camp Hale but there is a lot of evidence that the chapel indeed was dismantled at Camp Hale and rebuilt at BHOD. (Jim Anderson)

The Walrus

The Walrus

Vol. 1 No. 26 pages 1 July 4, 1952

New Rug Bought For Post Chapel

The Post Chapel has a new look these days. the chancel has a new, all wool, hunter-green rug, replacing the strips of carpet used before.

The rug was purchased by the Civilian Welfare Fund of Igloo. The Civilian Welfare Committee is composed of Don Thompson, president, Josephine Hutchison, Ben Schoch, James Stewart, Woodrow Hipsher, Pete Sinclair and Geddis Nelson.

The churches cooperated in a very fine manner by appointing one member of the church to the committee to help in the selection of a suitable rug. Those appointed include Donald Karaus, Catholic; Henry Hagen, Interdenominational; and Thurlow Lorenz, Lutheran.

Bids for installing the rug were submitted by three companies. The committee examined rug samples from each company and Kilingers of Hot Springs was chosen. The cost, plus installation of the rug, was $525.

The committee is to be commended for doing a superb job in the selection and purchasing of a rug for the wonderful improvement of the Chapel.


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