You are here

Oahe Dam, Mission School and Chapel


PIERRE, S.D. – The Oahe Dam project was commissioned in 1944, and upon completion was the largest rolled-earth dam in the world.  The reservoir is more than 200 miles in length and has in excess of 2,000 miles of shoreline. 
Thomas L. Riggs was delegated in 1872 to serve the Teton Sioux along the Missouri River. Riggs named his missionary site Oahe, a Dacotah word meaning “a place to stand upon.” Riggs found it necessary in 1877 to build a church and a school for his Oahe Station mission. The church became the religious center of a large area.
The building that served as both the church and school has remained unchanged through the years. It stands atop the eastern edge of Oahe Dam, just off state Highway 1804. 
The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight historical markers all across South Dakota. Click on the special “Marks of History” link at to access the complete list of articles.
The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota from 2003-2010 and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.
Media Notes: 
 Information for this release was obtained from “Brevet’s South Dakota Historical Markers”.
The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers. Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today’s standards. Please view the markers at your own discretion.