The Time a South Dakota Town Packed Up, Moved South
So you're sitting at your kitchen table with your family enjoying a delicious supper. There comes a knock on the door, and your neighbor says you have to move. "Why?" you ask. Well, because your neighbor has to move too. And so do the other neighbors. And the businesses. And the school. And the church.
The whole town has to move. Literally.
Welcome to Pollock, South Dakota, 224 people or so strong according to the 2020 census, proudly situated in Campbell County. You know where it is. But that isn't always where it was.
Founded in 1901, Pollock was doing plum fine, thank you...that was until the early 1950s. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to build a dam on the Missouri River, which would create Lake Oahe. The problem (yes, in those days we called it a 'problem', not a 'challenge') was, well, uh...Pollock was in the way. The town would be flooded. The town would be somewhere in the waters of Lake Oahe. The town would drown and be just a memory.
Well, that wouldn't do.
So on January 27, 1953, the town folks decided to move the town, about a mile south, and upon a hill. Now, you don't just take a couple of hours and move an entire town of course. So the official groundbreaking of 'New Pollock' took place on June 4, 1955...and then it happened.
Here comes the elevator, the lumber yard, and a one-legged water tower. Up go two new churches and a new school. Homes were moved and new ones were built. A new 60-acre park was built. A new cheese plant was secured.
The old town site was leveled. One of the 'up sides' of the new dam? Well, it created several new recreational areas.
Oh, and one more unique thing about Pollock....It celebrated its Centennial in 2001...and the new town celebrated its half-century in 2005!
So if you're headed to Pollack, it moved. But it's only about a mile south or so, there, up on the hill.
Read more about the history of this unique South Dakota town here.
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