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vLENS continued from page 21 inside for permission. Before I could knock on the door of the old army barrack now turned into a home, this older man, larger than life opened the door. He did not appear to be someone who wanted to have a conversation and looked at us with a stone-cold stare. I introduced myself as Angella Pechous (this was before Ryan and I had married), and asked his name, he replied with, “Jack.” I asked him about getting some pictures of the base and he said no immediately. But we stood and talked for over a half hour. We asked Jack about the history of Fort Igloo, who owns buildings at the abandoned base and lives there with just a handful of neighbors. He says that the land is slowly being returned to its original purpose before the arms depot was built in 1942. Fort Igloo came to an end in the summer of 1967, when the government shut down the arms depot, the base was ultimately abandoned. Fort Igloo has become a veritable ghost town. But even though most of the people have gone many of the buildings remain. The land is currently owned by several private parties. In all, it is more than 21,000 square acres and in the 1950’s was listed as the 15th largest city in the state. Known as Fort Igloo, because of the shape of the bunkers, the Black Hills Ordinance Depot was home to more than just weapons. Thousands of people lived and worked at the base. Frankly, calling Fort Igloo a storage facility doesn’t even do it justice. In addition to the concrete storage bunkers, the 33 square mile complex once included all the amenities of a well-planned town. In addition to living quarters for over a thousand people, Fort Igloo also boasted an Army hospital, a school district, day-care center, movie theater, bowling alley, skating rink, post office, church, shopping facilities and other mainstays of small-town America including a 22vHISVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2018 vLENS continued on page 23

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