Dam History

Taken directly from South Dakota Missouri River website. Visit there for additional historical information and pictures. Located just six miles north of the Pierre and Fort Pierre communities, the Oahe Dam stands as one of the largest earth-rolled dams in the world. It creates the fourth largest artificial reservoir in the United States, supplying irrigation, conservation, flood control and electric power to many Midwestern states as well as abundant recreation along Lake Oahe. The Oahe Dam was authorized in 1944 by the Flood Control Act. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began working on the dam in 1948. By 1962, the Oahe Dam was functioning and producing hydroelectric power. The dam was dedicated on August 17, 1962, by President John F. Kennedy. The word Oahe, once the name of a Christian mission, is a Sioux Indian word meaning “a foundation,” or “a place to stand on.” Visitors can view the Oahe Dam and Lake Oahe by following the highway seven miles north of Pierre. The Oahe Dam Visitor Center provides a complete history of Lake Oahe and the surrounding area. Exhibits feature the history of the construction of the dam and power plant and the natural history of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River.  The Oahe Dam Visitor Center, located above the dam, is open year-round, featuring interactive displays and information about the Oahe Dam and the Missouri River. Taken directly from South Dakota Missouri River website. Visit there for additional historical information and pictures.