Hub City celebrates 85 years

Everyone is welcome to attend the 85th anniversary celebration the evening of Saturday, June 19 for a barbeque and music at Hub City. A free-will offering will be taken; proceeds go to Dalesburg-Hub City Historical Society.

On Midsummer Day 1925, William Inberg opened the Hub City Garage. This was the first business in what later became Hub City. The Dalesburg Lutheran Church however, had been established there several years earlier. It was organized by early homesteaders in 1871. The first services were held in homesteaders' sod houses. The first church was built in 1874.

The Hub City Store was opened a couple years after the garage. It was built by the Rovart family. They operated the store until Mr. and Mrs. Little bought it. They ran it until 1936, when Ellis White purchased it. The White family added a trucking service to their store operation. Ellis White sold the store to Warren Nygaard in the 1950s. Betty and Royce Dahlin owned it for a short time. In the 1960s, Joy Hansen purchased the property. He built a house east of the store and later the store was torn down. The Hansen family still owns the property.

Orvie and Helen Sampson opened a café on the south side of the road. They also operated a cream station within the café. Orvie moved a house in from an area farm to the lot east of the café where his mother and her granddaughter, Marlyn Sampson, lived. In 1953, Helen died and Orvie was killed in a farm accident. Their sons, LeRoy and Wayne operated the café until the late 1950s when they sold it to Mr. Hughes. Andres Lindstrom purchased the lot east of the Sampson house, he intended to build a house on the lot but never did.

In 1946, Anna Swedeen moved a house from a farmstead to a lot on the south side of the road west of the café. Her grandson, Hollie Swedeen Jr. resided with her. Her great-grandson, Brendyn Richards now owns the property. Clay County purchased the lot west of the Swedeen house and built a metal building to house their road maintainer. The county dismantled the building, however they still use the lot to stock pile gravel and park their equipment.

For a short time there was a coffee chop run by Thorsten Oleen on the west side of the garage. The coffee shop was in a mobile building, which had steel wheels and was later used by the county road crew. Thorsten and his brother Herbert Oleen worked for Will Inberg as well as for local farmers before returning to their home in Sweden.

Mr. Inberg also had an ice house on the west side of the garage. In the summers he purchased ice in 75 pound blocks from an ice house in Hawarden, IA which was located on the banks of the Sioux River. Next to the ice house there was a barber shop. On Thursday nights a barber came from either Vermillion, Wakonda or Beresford to cut hair. A hair cut cost 25 cents. The cement building, which was attached to the west side of the garage, housed two generators, which provided electricity for the garage and the family house. These generators were used until 1939 when the REA lines extended electricity to rural areas. A small building behind the garage always drew interest. The outside of the building was covered in 1929 license plates. The Clay County Courthouse had a surplus that year so they gave them to Mr. Inberg who made good use of them. The stone pillars in front of the garage were constructed by Harry Lund who also made the stone wall which was in front of the Inberg house. A time capsule which was compiled by Helen Sampson was placed in the west end of the stone wall in 1937. It was opened in June 1991.

Hub City's heyday was probably in the 1930s through the end of WWII. In spite of the depression, the drought, dust storms, grasshoppers, record breaking heat in the summers and record breaking snow and cold in winters. Hub City seemed to prosper and provided much needed services and support to the local community. In the summers movies were shown on the west side of the Sampson Café. Most of the customers brought their eggs to the grocery store or their cream to Sampson's creamery. If they didn't come to shop they came to socialize. Men would fill the garage and café to talk about crops, politics or baseball. On nights when there was a heavyweight boxing fight, Mr. Inberg turned the radio full blast and the garage would be full of fight fans. One can't forget the fights between Joe Louis and his challengers. Major league baseball games, especially the World Series, would fill the garage to capacity. During the early 1940s Hub City sponsored a ladies bowling team to compete in the Vermillion Bowling League. For a couple of years there was a skeet shooting range in the field east of the Sampson Café.

The biggest attraction during this time was the Hub City baseball team. During this time the Hub City team was one of the best in the area. Their biggest rival was the Vermillion Red Socks and the biggest game of the year was the Midsummer game between Hub City and Vermillion. The Hub City team, managed by Herbert "Hap" Heglin, was mainly composed of local boys. Occasionally they would hire a pitcher for $5 a game. Young boys would chase foul balls for five cents a ball. More than once a foul ball would crash through Inberg's garage windows or break the glass globe that adorned the top of his gas pump. At least once during the summer Hub City would play host to a traveling baseball team. In about 1940, one team came from Chicago. They brought their own lights with them and set them up before the game. A large generator provided the needed electricity. One can only wonder if maybe that was one of the first night baseball games in South Dakota.

World War II brought an end to an era in Hub City. By the summer of 1942, many of the baseball team members were in the military. After the war, attempts were made to organize the team again, however, after two seasons the interest waned. Some of the players who still wanted to play joined teams in Vermillion, Centerville and Beresford. In the late 1940s the Lutheran church built a top notch softball field with lights. The Lutheran church and other churches organized teams which created a very competitive church league. The biggest game of the season is still the game played on Midsummer. It is played between the Dalesburg Lutheran Church and the Dalesburg Baptist Church.

The geographic location of Hub City provided its name. It is about 15 miles from Vermillion, Beresford, Centerville, Volin, Wakonda and Alcester, therefore it was suggested that the little village was sort of a "hub" to these surrounding towns. In the early days, Hub City was a bus stop for a bus line. There are stories about Lawrence Welk and his band stopping at the Inberg garage to get gas at all hours of the night. In 1933, the garage and the store were robbed. The gangsters held up the garage and took the customers from there to the store and also robbed the store and their customers. It was reported that the gangsters made a clean get-a-way. During the war, Hub City served as a site for several drives to collect war necessary materials, such as tine, rubber, iron, steel and aluminum.

Today the businesses have long been gone, however. Hub City is still an important crossroads. The church is as important today as it was years ago. Families still live there but work in surrounding towns. Midsummer has the same importance in carrying on old world traditions as it did when the first homesteaders settled the area. A monument has been erected in Hub City to remind people of the history of this little village. Hub City still shows up on maps and is even programmed into modern technology. One can find directions to Hub City merely by entering data into a GPS device.

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