Housing for all
Starting in 1946 and completed by mid-1949 at a cost of $9.5 million, a brand new town rose from the South Dakota prairie. Built in four stages the town was the work of the US Army Corps of Engineers to house
the workers building the dam.
Pickstown was named after General Lewis Pick, co-author of the Pick/Sloan Plan. It was a unique town and nothing like it in the entire state.
Housing construction included 13 dormitories for single men, 125 cabins, 225 trailer spaces 263 duplexes in configurations of 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms, and 25 permanent houses on Missouri Drive.
Contractors were allotted a number of housing units and families were assigned housing based on need and availability. Early rents were based on the number of bedrooms in each unit. $39 for a 1 bedroom, $44 for a 2 bedroom, $50 for a three bedroom. It was not uncommon for a family to move from one residence to another as needs changed. Periodically the government would do a rental survey and adjust rents accordingly.
The town was designed to accommodate 3,500-4,000 workers in conditions suitable for a normal family life. This figure was based on 750 families with an average of four members and a thousand single men.