In the 1950s, Pollock, South Dakota was moved half a mile because the old town would be flooded by waters of Oahe Dam, the largest of the Missouri River earth rolled dams. This historic marker is located north of Pollock, South Dakota on SD Highway 1804 gives a brief history of the move. Text of Pollock, SD historic marker located on SD Highway 1804 near location of old Pollock:


In 1901 Pollock was founded as the end point of the Soo Line rail service from Wishek, ND. Soo Line officials requested the town be named Pollock in honor of R.Y. Pollock, a pioneer lay minister and respected citizen of the area.

With passage of the Flood Control Act of 1944, citizens of Pollock realized the construction of Oahe Dam would inundate their town of less then 500 people. Relocating the community was decided by unanimous vote at a Jan. 27, 1953 public meeting. A vote was then taken to determine which direction the town should move from its soon to be flooded location. The vote was west-2, north-20, east-39 and south-139. The Flood Association's recommendation was to move the town south and in the next round of voting, 167 voted for the southern location. A unanimous vote was then cast for the southern site for new Pollock. Chronicling the move and instrumental in bolstering public support through his local newspaper, E.L. MacKay reported that in 1956 the Corps of Engineers agreed to make the north crossing into a dam thereby creating a small lake that would not fluctuate with the rise and fall of Lake Oahe. This dam created Lake Pocasse under which the old town site of Pollock now rests. By the spring of 1962, the people of Pollock were completely moved, the old town leveled, and Lake Pocasse was nearly full. Pollock now has two lakes on its doorstep, Lake Pocasse and Lake Oahe.


Community leaders, John B. Pollock, I. H. Dornbush, H.C. Hanning, Horton DeVan, Martin Schaeffer, Sam Borr and Robert Pollock formed the nonprofit Pollock Development Corporation to acquire the site one mile south of old Pollock and subdivide the land. After much discussion, the committee settled on a method for distributing both residential and business lots in the new townsite. The entire community studied the plat of the new town, looked over the land itself, consulted their relatives and friends, and selected their choice of a lot. They sealed the lot number of their choice and placed them in a box. On May 26, 1955, envelopes were drawn, one by one, and names posted on the appropriate lot on a map of the new town. There appeared to be no duplicate choices, and in the end there were only a few cases where two people had drawn the same lot. Ties were settled by the toss of a coin. A period of trading followed among those who wished to have different neighbors.


A contest was held to name the new lake. In August of 1961 Wilmer Kirschenmann submitted the name of Pocasse, an Arikara Indian chief whom Lewis and Clark had met in the area in 1804. Lake Pocasse was selected from over 400 entries.

  • Lewis and Clark Historic Marker Text.
    Text of Lewis and Clark Historic Marker located north of Pollock, South Dakota.

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