Courthouse Surprises

The fossilized lower jaw and upper maxilla of a mosasaur is on display inside the Charles Mix County courthouse in Lake Andes.

I was in Pickstown last summer gathering information for a story when Bill Lampman showed me an old newspaper clipping. Even though he’s not a native of the area, Lampman has become a devoted historian of Pickstown, which was built almost overnight to house workers as they labored on the Fort Randall Dam.

This old article described the discovery of a fossilized ancient sea creature called a mosasaur. Excavators working on another local dam in the 1930s discovered the remains as they moved dirt. Such an important paleontological artifact seemed like something that a major museum would want to add to its collection, so I asked if he knew where it was today.

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