In 1942 the US Army Corps of Engineers built 830 concrete and steel all-risk bunkers at the Black Hills Army Depot in Fall River County south of Edgemont, South Dakota.
In 1967 the military sold the property to the City of Edgemont who then sold it to local cattle ranchers until Del Mar, California-based Robert Vicino entered a 2017 agreement with S&S Land and Cattle Co., and its partner corporation, Fort Igloo Bunkers. Vicino bought much of the 18 square mile property and 575 bunkers in 2020 for nearly $2.5 million.
Today, starting at $35,000 and boasting remote off-grid survivable spaces with two deep wells the Vivos xPoint bunkers are being marketed and leased to doomsday preppers.
Hot Springs and Edgemont were parts of my marketing territory for eight years when I was with Twin City Fruit in Deadwood and for another year after Sysco bought us in 1990.
In 2014 this interested party passed a Black Hills State University article on community organizing to a Hot Springs official. The town then expanded its social media platform and the Mammoth Site is at the focus of scientific research on a 9300-year-old mummified bison uncovered there.
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In 2015 Hot Springs hosted a visiting New Mexico couple at breakfast, walks through the historic downtown, the Veterans Administration complex, the Pioneer Museum and the Mammoth Site: a test of cannabis possession in several jurisdictions. Nearby Wind Cave National Park is a perennial favorite destination for ecotourists and is within biking distance of the Mickelson Trail. Real estate is affordable and historic properties abound.
County GIS Coordinator Stacey Martin told the Fall River County Commissioners during their meeting on Feb. 3 that had been 121 new addresses assigned in the county in 2021. Most years the county assigns 50 to 60 new addresses, she said. She explained that out of the 121 addresses assigned, 50 homes were built. Director of Equalization Lily Heidebrink reported that the number of bunkers at Igloo is 575, with a total of 99 leased in 2021. “If all the bunkers are leased and lived in, the population could be larger than Edgemont,” she said. Currently, 201 bunkers are being valued by the assessor’s office.