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Corps of Engineers

Powerhouse Operation

In 1951-53, personnel were being trained for operation of the Fort Randall Dam powerhouse at Fort Peck, MT to get ready for the first of eight generators on March 15, 1954.  Bob Roper, who later became the Assistant Powerhouse Superintendent at Fort Randall in 1953 and then the Area Engineer at Gavin's Point Dam was the lead instructor.  He wrote the training manual and came to Fort Peck from TVA projects in Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

Prior to the startup of the first generator, the intake tunnel was pressured by release of water from the intake tower to the wicker gates at the generator's turbine.  The first generator startup was signaled by President Dwight Eisenhower by telegraph and South Dakota Governor Siqurd Andersen then pushed a button that started the generator by opening up the 21 wicker gates.  According to powerhouse operator, Dale Green, who was on duty it took only 10 seconds for the generator to come up to full speed.  At 115,000 volts, the generator developed 40,000 watts of power an amount that would supply the city of Sioux Falls (pop 53,000) for one day.

Attending in addition to Governor Andersen were Brigadier General W. E. Potter, Missouri River Division Engineer; Colonel T. J. Hayes, Omaha District Engineer; George Evans, Fort Randall Area Engineer; and W. V. Maxwell, Official of Westinghouse, manufacture of the generator.  Major General Lewis Pick and William Glenn Sloan, architects of the Pick-Sloan Plan for the Missouri River Dams were unable to attend.

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Fort Randall Powerhouse


Class Training at Ft. Peck Dam for Operators Assigned to Ft. Randall Dam


Generator Floor


Harold Squires at Control Room just before First Unit went on line

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Control Room with Eddie Vacek, Dave Decker, Mel Livingston and Bob Roper


Gene Myers & Earl Cover   Testing Control Panel


Generator Control Room

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Generator Control Desk


Start Up of First Generator with Bob Roper (center), and Corps Omaha Reps

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Organizational Chart of the Corps of Engineers


Organizational Chart of Fort Randall Area

Construction Companies

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