Have You Been to South Dakota’s Sunken Ghost Town?
You may be thinking, "I didn't even know there was an underwater ghost town in South Dakota!" You're probably not alone, but- - surprise!
In fact, odds are pretty good that you have been there, maybe gone swimming off the sandy beach on the south shore, or fished for rainbow or brown trout in it, maybe had a leisurely picnic beside it, or kayaked, maybe even waterskied on it.
Any guesses? It is Pactola Reservoir, better known to a lot of South Dakotans as Lake Pactola.
This gorgeous manmade lake/reservoir came to be after the Pick-Sloan Flood Control Act of 1944 was enacted. It authorized the construction of numerous dams across the country. The Pactola Reservoir was one of them.
Built between 1952 and 1956 the lake supplies Rapid City with a lot of its water and is also a large part of the state's flood control plan.
Camp Crook was the name of the town that was submerged with the creation of the Pactola Reservoir. The town was a placer mining village Meaning they didn't get the minerals out in veins of rock, they used sluices to separate the gold from the sand or gravel.
It was also the location of one of the first post offices in the Black Hills. Camp Crook was a thriving little town at one point with over 300 people and railroad tracks into the town. It had many purposes after the initial gold rush but eventually was abandoned.
Most of the town's buildings were auctioned off and removed, and all the trees were clear cut before the area was flooded. But apparently, the dynamite bunker is still under the water, and one cabin is actually above the water a bit downstream.
So now you know. You may have taken a refreshing dip above a ghost town in the Black Hills!
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