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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.
09:55 pm - Sun, April 28 2024
Ray Metcalfe said:
My name is Ray Metcalfe. In 1967 or 1968, I was in a head-on collision in South Dakota when a friend and I were hitchhiking from Sheridan Wyoming to Sioux Falls South Dakota, returning from a vacation to a private high school just out of Sioux Falls.

I pulled two children, around 6 or 7 out of the wreckage of a Volks Wagon that had turned left, crossing into our lane as we were traveling around 55 MPH in a Pontiac Bonneville. The VW driver, in his 70’s, was thrown from the car and died at the scene. The two children I pulled from the VW had been in the back seat and were not hurt.

Once out of the crumpled-up VW, the children wanted to know where their older sister was. I walked back and forth in the ditch until I found her. She was around ten or twelve, unconscious, but still alive. She had been in the front seat. Cars did not have seatbelts back then and she had gone through the windshield. She died in the hospital that night.

The sun had just gone down and my hitchhiking friend ran to a farmhouse to call an ambulance. The farm house was their grandparents’ house. The VW driver, who died on impact, was their farm hand. Two ambulances arrived and took us to a nearby small-town hospital.

Fifty-seven years later, I don’t remember the name of the town. We were on a two-lane road, the I-90 4-lane did not exist back then. I think we had already passed through Rapid City, but I’m not sure.

I don’t remember whether it was fall of 67, or spring of 68 but it was a worm time of year. If still living, the children would now be in their 60’s.

I wish I had made notes of the names of the driver who had picked us up, the children and their parents. South Dakota Motor Vehicles records don’t go back that far. I’m making this post with hopes that the information above will find its way to someone who recognizes the above events and can connect me to the two children that I pulled out of the VW wreckage.

Ray Metcalfe,
Anchorage Alaska

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