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01:33 pm - Wed, July 22 2015
Dick Reding said:
I remember old Highway 16 being dotted with small gas station, diner type places often at major intersections with other highways. Stanley Corner was a long time diner at the intersection of 16 and highway 81. Richard's Corner 8 miles north of Marion on old 16 and of course Pumpkin Center at the intersection of 16 and highway 19.

My father was the doctor in Marion and back in the day still made house calls and even delivered babies at home. Pumpkin Center was often a stop for him as it had a small telephone exchange that operated 24/7and served as his message center. My mother would take calls at home and then call Pumpkin Center to leave messages.
09:54 am - Sat, February 1 2020
John Perkins said:
My grandparents were Levi & Francis Guemmer. They had 1 daughter Dorothy Hocking, my mother. One of her paintings made the SD Magazine cover in Feb 1999. She passed away 5-29-19. Levi & Francis owned & operated a country store/gas station 1 mile east of Pumpkin Center (2 miles east of Union Center) on Old Highway 16. It was also 7 miles south of Humboldt, where mom went to H.S. Levi always said his store was "17 miles west of Sioux Falls on HWY 16." Of course the mileage has shortened & is perhaps closer to 15 now. While the near-by house they lived in off-&-on still exists, the store is long gone, but the stories have been re-told. One vignette is worth sharing. One time a gentlemen stopped by to get gas late at night - shortly before closing time. The man came in & made a couple of other purchases (probably beer & cigs), but wouldn't leave. Francis politely told him repeatedly (in her usual way) they were closed. The man continued to sit. After what seemed to be an eternity, the man paid & finally walked out the door & drove off. Where was Levi? He was in the back room watching what was going on with shotgun in hand. When asked later why he didn't confront the man, he said "I was afraid I was going to shoot the SOB." Folks in the area always said nothing ever phased Levi, but one could tell that incident would have phased the customer had he been confronted. Later we lived in MN, many Sundays we would drive over to Guemmer's Store via HWY 16. Having a telephone installed ca. 1972 was a major event that eased my mother. Many times I remember walking in the store, seeing Levi on the left (east) side of the room sitting in his mission-style rocker (which I own) & feel the entire floor shake due to him tapping his foot playing the saxophone. It's the little things we don't forget. My grandparents were patients of Doc Reding in Marion, & mom & dad (Conrad Perkins) use to take my brothers and I into Marion to get doctored.

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