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Black Hills Ordnance Depot



pg. 44
pg. 45
Adults of BHOD Kids of BHOD

The BHODian page 42 April 1945


As Democracy is a mosaic of thought created by the piecing together of ideas gleaned from thousands of years of thinking, so the personalities to be found in a Democracy, as represented by the BHODians, are pieces of a mosaic created by the piecing together of hundreds of varying backgrounds and envoronments. Here are found schoolmasters, salesmen, artists, authors, musicians, actors, the skilled and the unskilled, friends of the great and near great, survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre, relatives of famous Indian chiefs such as Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, and men who were babies in the camp on the Little Big Horn on that fatal day in June '72. Here are the sons and daughters of those hardy pioneers who rode the Pony Express, followed the cattle herds from Texas, rubbed elbows with the characters from the history of Deadwood, Lead, and the Black Hills, or crossed the plains by prairie schooner and stayed to develop the Great West. They are all here working together to back our nation's great war effort as homefront fighters at the Black Hills Ordnance Depot. From the far and near corners of these United Sates they have come to become a part of this new American community and to do their part for the war effort as soldiers of supply at Igloo. During construction days a look at the parking areas revealed that license plates from almost every state in the union were in evidence - many of these are now gone, but the majority have traded the old home sticker for one from South Dakota.

The BHODian page 18 April 1945

The Melting Pot

by Archer B. Gilfillan (1942)

When this country was first settled the Yankees colonized New England; the Dutch, New York; the Spaniards, the Southwest; and the French, Louisiana. Contacts between the groups were few and assimilation slow.

Here at Provo the process has been a much more violent one. Six thousand men, representing three races and thirty or more nationalities were dumped on the barren prairie south of the Black Hills and told to get along together. And the miracle of it is that they do get along. The sioux seek the metaphorical scalps of their ancient enemies at checkers, ping pong, or cribbage. "God's Chillun" entertain the rest with their inimitable gifts of song and dancing. Men of a score of nationalities or of none argue interminably but amicably the perpetual questions of war and politics. On two points only do they agree, their Americanism and their patriotism. This perhaps forms the tie which binds such diverse elements together.

Moreover, this diversity is not one of nationality alone but includes almost every occupation, and every division of the economic scale - teachers and students, both high school and college; skilled artisans and day laborers; ex-theologians and prison guards; truck drivers and saloonkeepers; photographers and butchers; ranchers, farmers, and farm hands, and professional followers of construction camps. The above list includes only those of whom I have personal knowledge. The list could be expanded several times. I even met a fellow sheepherder.

I said to a high school professor of many years' standing, the head of his department. "I don't wish to offend you, but aren't you making much more as a carpenter that you ever did as a teacher?" He readily admitted that he was, and said he was merely at Provo "on vacation," and that he would return to his profession at the opeing of the school year. Incidentally, it would seem that there is something wrong with a civilization that pays its wood butchers two or three times as much as it does those who crave and mould its most priceless possessions, its children.

Among the girls and women at Provo there is as much diversity as there is among the men. For in this old maid's paradise are girls of every type - beautiful, pretty, cute, plain, homely, and drab. There are college and high school students; brainy executives and mannequins; nurses, both practical and professional; secretaries and typists; waitresses and commissary clerks. There are farm women and city women; widows, grass and sod; gray-haired grandmothers, matrons, and young girls; eager-eyed youth and disillusioned age.

The value of the close association of such diverse elements cannot be over-estimated. What we do not know, we instinctively fear, and what we fear, we dislike. As we come to know the other fellow better and appreciate his point of view, we find that we have an unexpected number of things in common with him. Better understanding is apt to breed better liking - a forerunner of that universal understanding among nations which will one day bring a universal and lasting peace.

So out of the welter of races and nationalities, of creeds and conditions, working together playing together at Provo, there is arising a new leaven of tolerance and understanding, bringing with it a mutual sympathy and a common point of view. In other words, at Provo, America is being born again.

Click here for memories.

As I mentioned on the purpose page, your memories of Igloo are very important.
If they are not recorded they will be lost.
Click above and read the memories of others and add your own.

Send me bios, photos, links for your family.

Click on the names below for info about them.
Brokaw, Tom
Dille, Dr. Donald
Gilfillan, Archie
Goodman, Van
Hoffman, Col. Don
Lippman, Paul
Marsh, Joe
Martin, Jim
Mondavi, Margrit
Morganti, Helen
Nolen, Dr. William
Sears, Jesse
Ward, Adelaide


"Ode to Igloo"

Long ago and far away, there was a place I knew,
This place was a magical city, and it was called Igloo.

Of summers spent without a care, fun and frolic everywhere.
Whether we played in cowboy land, or hiked to Micah Hill,

One thing was for certain, we always had a thrill.
The community building was always open to run and play some ball

Or else we went to the swimming pool, we didn't have a mall.
Halloween was a time that was especially fun, there was always too much candy,

That had to be undone.
A visit to Hipshers theater, was then for us in store, to watch three scary movies,

That would leave us wanting more
We never had to worry, about walking home alone,

For you see Igloo, was everybodys home.
Poodle skirts and saddle shoes, duck tails and taps were in,

We didn't know how good we had it, in our little town back then.
First loves, and first dates were experienced, back then by quite a few,

I am sure that there would have been more, If only they knew,
That the days of the magical city, were quickly closing fast,

And the fun and the laughter, that everyone shared, surely would not last.
And sure enough in 64 a decree from D.C. went out.

To close the magical city, and scatter the people about.
But there was one thing that D.C. did not know, that friendship does not die,

And even though we are scattered about, and still ask the question WHY?
Just remember the memories, and everything good we had,

And thank the good Lord for Igloo, and try to be happy, and not sad.
And so it goes with each passing year, that the third week in July we meet,

And for a little while that we gather it surely is a treat.
For when we talk about the old times, it takes us way back to,
When life was simple, and there were no worries, in our little town named Igloo.

Submitted by: Michael Williams, Class of "68"

Class of 59 Memories

I was always kind of quiet & shy, but I never felt excluded from any thing. I guess I was involved as I wanted to be. I had a paper route all through high school and I guess I wanted to have my own money instead of playing sports.
Igloo was a great place to grow up.

Duane Just

My most memorable moment was when Marquerite and I skipped school and went to her house, cause her parents were gone. Miss Ward called my mom and asked why I wasn't in school. Boy, did we get in trouble. I spent an hour every night at school outlining out of an encyclopedia for how many weeks?
Another was Clova's slumber party. I remember a knock on the door and it was Art with a scarf on his head wanting to join us and some of the boys outside.
And to all the boys that hocked my watch to buy beer - It's not too late to get it back. ART!!!

Marlene Robb

I remember the party the girls had over at Joyce Haub's house and we had liquor and I guess every thing got out of hand. And then when we went the day to pick up our report cards and Miss Ward told me that if I didn't tell my parents - she would. What she had heard was probably a lot worse than what had happened, so I did tell my parents. I was not allowed to visit or talk with Joyce again. I felt real bad; but I knew that I better listen.
After that year, my father decided to move and I was not able to graduate with my class.

Rose Rodriquez

Igloo was a community that had the "good life" and reveled in it. Igloo was a place where all seemed to respect and enjoy the individuality of one another. Even tho families were physically close, no one was "in your face" and families enjoyed privacy.
Igloo was Utopia with everyone on the same economic level and every child (well most) did reach for the brass ring. Achievement was the name of the game. Igloo was a place where social problems were minimal as anti-social behavior resulted in swift dismissal.
Igloo was a place where children were the priority and much of the community life centered around them. School events were attended by most and the next day discussions were heard all over town. Everything that went on was a "big deal". How fortunate we were to have been surrounded by such a zest for living.
Igloo was a place where parents were parents. They not only took care of their own offspring; but looked after others too. It keep us on our best behavior as we all knew an infraction could reach our parents ears! But, by like token, achievements were noted by these same people. Support was given freely and often - no wonder children were empowered. My mother often said that Igloo was a wonderful place to raise children, how right she was! Even though we have lived and experienced many different locations, I wish I could have given my children an Igloo Childhood.
And even though we lived in long silly houses or tertlings or the barracks and everything was pretty much the same color it did not matter. We know Igloo was not aesthetically beautiful, but it was so spiritually beautiful as to be awesome.
My granddaughter wanted to see where I grew up so we went to Igloo last week. In the lower area, no houses stand with the exception of some barracks. But you can see a forest of beautiful trees and sidewalks. When I saw those trees, I was warmed because I knew they were all planted lovingly and nurtured along. My brother Denny reminded me "you did not climb trees in Igloo" - so cared for were they.
Brick structures are evident and are in almost pristine shape (great masons!) There are remnants of other buildings, the church stands and there are a few occupied houses on the Hill. In spite of the deterioration, it felt good to be home!
I am saddened to think that after the class of '67 is gone, no one will have a living memory of our beautiful life. It behooves each of us to pass on to our descendants how a smattering of people from the Dakotas and elsewhere, with different backgrounds and cultures embraced their new home and created an unique community, our beloved Igloo.
Because of them, we are bonded forever.

Darlene Olmstead

My earliest recollections of life at Igloo was the music at school because Mom would take me to everything they did. Provo Schools was the center of much of our existence. Every game, musical, prom or dance was attended by much of the community. HOW PROUD EVERYONE SEEMED OF OUR RATTLERS.
As I look back, I am astonished by our lack of racial, ethnic problems. We were all the same and treated each other that way. I grew up color blind and it was hard to see and learn about prejudice and hatred practiced elsewhere. Igloo seemed to bring people together for the betterment of all. If we could pattern or duplicate that setting and community for more people, what a better world this would be.
I especially remember the summers when all the kids at boarding schools would come home and we would gather at the ballfield for a great game of Whites vs Reds. How competitive were were, but after the game we all trooped over to the drugstore and had pop or popsicles together. How unique in this day and age.
We all have special memories of that place on the prairie where the cactus, sagebrush and rattlesnakes flourished. Keep those memories close to your heart; because they were very special to a special group: the Iglooites, the Rattlers & the BHADers.
One last recollection that would be unheard of today or any other place but Igloo. Do you remember "hide & seek" with the cops. They would chase us and we would run and hide. No malice just fun. Later some of them told us that it was fun because they got bored. A Safe Haven for all.

Dave Bauer

In the spring of our senior year, several of us decided to skip school and as we went out the back door of the typing room, Mr. Swan (the janitor) drove by. The next day Ms. Ward called Clova and her cohorts from the day before to report to the office. We didn't know that Clova was the only one Mr. Swan recognized so Darlene, Emma, Mary Ann, Marguerite and I followed Clova to the "office" and were punished. Guess we weren't as smart as we thought.

Rita Wright

Excerpts from Class of 61 booklet

Some of my fondest memories in grade school years were the summer sessions of "sister school" with the nuns at the church. I still remember Janette and me (among others) being ushers for First Holy Communions and Confirmations.
Of course the summers were filled with trips to the swimming pool and swim/dive meets. After we were pickled from swimming, we would get together a softball game and play "work up". Night games in the street were fun too (kick the can, etc.) I still feel blessed in growing up in such a safe and serene environment. Remember the occasional Halloween prank, ha?
I look back on my high school years with mostly good memories. We did a few wild things, didn't we? Cheerleading and playing in the band, with Sandy strutting in front of us, brings back fond memories. I think we received a pretty good and rounded education in Igloo, thanks to good teachers who were also friends. Then, of course, the summers away from home trying to earn a few bucks. That in itself was a different world with much to learn and good memories. I'll always treasure friendships from my school days.
While some friends went off to college, I stayed in Igloo and worked in the Safety Office for one year. This was after Marilyn Smith, Karen Breen, Sandy Cooley and I went to Denver after graduation to "find jobs". Marilyn and Karen stayed on, but Sandy and I decided that wasn't for us and we returned to Igloo to work. Which, in hindsight, was a good move as we both met our future husbands there the following Spring.

Barbara Schmaltz

This will be my third reunion and I have an absolutely wonderful time every time I return and meet all of my great friends that I grew up with. I also thank the Lord and everyone involved in putting on the annual South Dakota Reunion, for the opportunity afforded us, of being able to attend every year as opposed to just a few times in a lifetime. We are truly blessed.
As I get older, I will endeavor to attend every year, because we never know when will be the last time we can enjoy the comradery that has developed over the years with each of our classmates. Incidentally, I still have all of my High School Yearbooks (4) and my diploma is encased in Gold, just to protect it from Miss Ward, who used to tell me daily that I would never graduate from Provo High School. But I fooled her and I have been a proud member of the Class of 1961 for many years.

Tom Buechler

Born in San Francisco in 1943. Was a ward of the government from 1945-1961. Was under the control of another Ward from 1959-1961.

Terry Stuen

My family moved to Igloo the summer before the start of kindergarten. Classmates I remember from that first school experience are Amy Johnson, Chuck Bush, Jerry Lanphear, Terry Stuen, Dallas Stewart and Cindy Gilpin.
After graduation in 1961, Karen, Marilyn, Barbara and I set out to make Denver our home. Igloo had not really prepared us for the real world and Barb and I headed back to our safe haven in Igloo after 3 or 4 days in the big, bad world.
I went to work at the US Army Hospital as secretary to the hospital administrator. Janette, Barbara, Patty Jo Plumb and I were all working on the base at that time and became fast friends. We had some great times together.
In the fall of 1962 the Army delivered into my life the man (Jim Copeland) with whom I've spent the last 43 years. Our oldest son, Mike, was born while Jim was stationed at the hospital. When the hospital was downgraded to dispensary status, I continued working at depot facilities. By the time Jim's tour of duty was up, we were expecting our second child.
I'm also grateful I had the opportunity to grow-up in such a unique place as Igloo. I feel very strongly that it shaped each of us into the person we have become.

Sandy Cooley

I will add new memories here and as the page gets full I will move them to a separate page.
You may notice most of these memories are from "kids". Are there any "adults" out there with memories of Igloo from the adult prespective?
These two links will take you to the first two pages of memories.
Memory page 1
Memory page 2


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