Photograph by Vincent J. Musi
Every hour of every day of the year, workers monitor the control room of the Fort Randall Dam and power plant. The 17th largest hydropower facility in the Corps arsenal, the plant serves seven midwestern states with nearly 21 million kilowatts of electricity3.5 percent of the nations electric power. Begun in 1946, the dam project spawned Pickstown almost overnight as thousands of construction workers and engineers flooded in. Stores, a school, a hospital, and a movie theater sprang up to cater to the crowd, which peaked at roughly 3,500. After the project was completed in the 1950s, the workers moved on and nearly all the towns buildings were eventually demolished, leaving Pickstown nearly a ghost town.