Oahe Dam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Event Coming Up This Week

Oahe Dam Construction


PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) What’s been in the planning stages in recent months is coming up this weekend—the Oahe Dam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Event. Friday and Saturday bring several activities that will mark 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was in Pierre to dedicate Oahe Dam–on August 17 of 1962. Friday morning, there will be a short program outside the Oahe Visitor Center which overlooks Lake Oahe-starting at 11:00 a.m. Diane Deis of Fort Pierre, who is part of a committee that is putting together the anniversary celebration, says people are being asked to bring their lawn chairs to view the program. She says there will be various officials who will be part of the commemoration, including Senator George McGovern.

The High Spirit Singers from Pierre will also be featured at the program.
After the program, there will be a sign unveiling and tours of the Oahe Chapel-which is located near the Oahe Visitor Center. Deis also says there will be power plant and intake structure tours, between one and seven p.m. on Friday and power plant tours will be Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as well.

In addition, Deis says the Cultural Heritage Center is marking the anniversary with a presentation of Oahe Dam construction images at 4:00 p.m. on Friday.

Oahe Marina, which is located below the dam, will have a special event marking the anniversary starting at 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon and continuing into the evening. On Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m., there will be a reception at the Cultural Heritage Center for those who worked during the construction of the dam. At 10:00 a.m., back at the Visitor Center, there will be an “Oahe Talk Back” session hosted by the Great Lakes Tourism Association staff. Participants include Matt Sutton who will talk about the flooding of his land when the Oahe Dam gates were open, Jamie Damon who wrote the letter to JFK inviting him to the dedication and Dottie Howe-who is Damon’s mother-and who remembers the dam being built-and other details. At 11:00 a.m. Saturday in Pierre, people can watch film footage of the Missouri River closing operations, Oahe Dam construction and the visit by President John F. Kennedy. The footage is provided by the State Archives and will be played at State 123 Theater.

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