South Dakota

The pumps station, Crandall, South Dakota - Everything But the Gas

The Pumps Station Crandall, SD
The Pumps Station Crandall, SD

There is nothing very ordinary or typical about the Pumps Gas station in the town of Crandall South Dakota. First off, if you pull into Crandall with your gas-gauge on empty you’re plum out of luck because this gas station has no gas. In fact, if you just swing by, it is fairly certain that the station will be closed. The town, with its total population of 7 is located at the base of the scenic Coteau Hills in Eastern South Dakota and is accessible by a gravel road far from any major interstate freeways. To find this place by accident you would probably have to be lost – most likely lost on purpose.

But if you visit the station on the second or fourth Sunday from June through October you’ll find a bit more action in Crandall. That action may vary mind you. You might get the chance to enjoy some great live music while enjoying an ice-cream or you might visit pleasantly with the stations proprietor – and his parents.

South Dakota gave birth to the town of Crandall in 1906. The rail
The Pumps Station Crandall, SD
The Pumps Station Crandall, SD

road was the reason for the start as Texas cattle needed a track to western South Dakota for summer grazing and Crandall was the point the M & St. L railroad headed west.

The station itself was opened in 1934, and served as a grocery store, post office and local poker parlor on Monday nights.

According to the Standard Oil book the Crandall Station was the last Standard station to use gravity pumps in the United States. The station closed in 1971 with Ben Hildebrant being the last owner, Ben had the Station for 30 years.

The station reopened in 2005 by current owner Dave Swain. In three years 1,700 people and one pet goat have traveled to this town of 7 people. The Pumps also has refreshments, ice-cream, local artist photography, postcards, t-shirts and South Dakota made products. The last Sunday in the months open will feature live music. visited the pumps and spoke with David Swain to find out a bit more about the place.

Mainstreetmoments: "What i
Crandall South Dakota
Crandall South Dakota

nspired you to re-open a gas-station with no gas in a town with a population of 7?"
Swain: "To preserve some history of early automobile travel and to hang out with my parents on a Sunday."

Mainstreetmoments: "What parts of the country or world have your visitors been from?"
Swain: "Checking my guest book I believe 24 States and 4 countries which are Sweden, Ireland, England and Canada."

Mainstreetmoments: "What’s in store for the pumps station in the future, any plans or ideas?"

Swain: "The future is cleaning out the garage for some indoor music events in the Fall – in case of bad weather. Other than that I keep things simple, kind of like Crandall. I do invite bike riders to make this their destination for a camp over, also a star gazing camp over is being planed for early August. With no street lights this is a supreme spot for viewing."

David Swain was born in 1959 and when not enjoying a pleasant afternoon at The Pumps with his parents and friends, he works as a bartender in Aberdeen South Dakota. Some of his interests include photography and off the main road travel. Accompanied by his girlfriend Shelly and his cat Cliff, Swain has taken two 6 month road trips across the United States in a 1983 Chevy Van.

The Pumps is simple, just as David Swain says, and that is part of the appeal. If ever there was a place to find yourself lost, it is The Pumps Station in Crandall South Dakota

To more information on the pumps, contact David Swain at 605-216-2563 or email him at
Author: James on 11/15 2014
Make A Comment

You are not logged on - your comment will be subject to review by our staff. To avoid this and post comments immediately, log on to your account before posting. No account? create one in 30 seconds! Compose your comment and submit.
(Max 300 characters).
Posted by: Anonymous on April 22 2015
Part of my childhood was spent in Crandall, as my grandparents owned the bar & dance hall close to your gas station.....they were Ray Pippert & matie Pippert. We had lots of fun with nothing but the great outdoors there. KIck the can & annie over the school house. Miss Tweedy was our teacher
Posted by: Anonymous on November 23 2013
I spent my childhood in Frederick, SD but for the last 20 years my wife and I have lived in Crandall, IN. A few years back we visited Crandall, SD. The Pump Station wasn't open so we took photos. In 2012 we visited Crandall, MS and Crandall, TX. Crandall, GA is next. Sorry we missed you.
Posted by: Anonymous on July 18 2013
Thanks for visiting!!
Posted by: Anonymous on May 12 2013
My uncle took us chokecherry picking in Oak Gulch one summer when I was about ten. Three of us and my uncle ate as many berries as we picked. We all had trouble swallowing. My uncle had a dime in each of his shoes and he got two bottles of coke from the machine in front of "Ben's Place".
Posted by: Anonymous on March 24 2013
I am also one of Ben Hildebrant's grandchildren.My brothers and I spent some good times visiting Grandpa in Crandall. We would sometimes try to imitate his laugh and wondered about his wearing long johns winter and summer! Kathi Hildebrant Schoaf Waterville Minn.
Posted by: Anonymous on November 20 2011
I am one of Ben Hildebrant's many grandchildren & have fond memories of our family visiting him at the Crandall gas pump station, where he worked and lived. Our family of 10 would travel 2 days from Vestal, NY, and be rewarded by 'grandpa', with a bottle of pop and piece of candy, upon arrival!
Posted by: Anonymous on March 19 2010
I think this is great! Just wish I was closer and could participate.
Posted by: Anonymous on December 14 2009
Merry Christmas from Crandall!! If the weather is in the 20's and not real windy we will have a fire and hot dog roast with Hot Chocolate Jan 31st a Sunday at 1pm--Music inside the heated Station.
Posted by: dakotakid on January 15 2009
Wanted Musicians for last weekend of June 09 for fund raiser for Turton Church. contact dave swain at 605-216-2563
Posted by: Anonymous on December 28 2008
Happy NEW YEAR from the PUMPS!!!
Posted by: Anonymous on August 13 2008
The pumps is planing a Music Fest the 3rd weekend of September. Will keep you posted!!!
Posted by: Anonymous on July 23 2008
I visited the store in the 1960's when my Grandfather ran the station. Good to see that it's still in good shape. Marc Hildebrant Son of Benjamin Hildebrant Jr. who was the son of the original owner Benjamin Hildebrant.
Posted by: dakotakid on June 16 2008
Posted by: Anonymous on March 10 2008
Posted by: Roger and Judy Felton, Ossian, Indiana. Crandall is full of history. Be sure to have David Swain take you back in time as he relates facts about Crandall from the time of early trappers.
Posted by: Anonymous on March 09 2008
A nifty little place with a wonderful proprietor.
Posted by: Anonymous on March 09 2008
Great Job James!!! Thanks for the write UP!
Posted by: Anonymous on March 06 2008
Cool place to visit June through October!!

Share legends of the midwest newsletter
Recent articles in: Travel South Dakota Tiny Towns The pumps sta...
Recent articles in: Travel All States Tiny Towns Panora to Stu... Building Nebr... The pumps sta...
Recent articles in: Travel All States Camping in So... Root River Va... Camping in Wi... Frank Lloyd W... Madison Wisco... Sushi in Minn... The Buffalo M... Ride across N... Whitetail Dee... Mill City Mus... G.W. Frank Ho... 'I Love Fishi... Experts Predi... Picture Yours... Lake of the W... Spring is Her... Nicks Hamburg... Panora to Stu... Nebraska 2011... Where in Sout... Carhenge and ... "See South Da... Where is Sitt... Travel to Iow... Minnesota Win... Where is the ... North Dakota ... A Vacation Pa... Village of Wa... Angling in Pi... Visit Minneso... December 2009... Minnesota Fis... Best of the M... Sitting Bull ... FORT PIERRE C... Expand your m... Buffalo Round... American Jour... Building Nebr... 10 legendary ... Explore Minne... bighorn sheep... PHOTO GALLERY... The Ice Age... The pumps sta... Enjoying US 2...
Rescue your family's stories forever and contribute to the history vault.

Read how to do it here


Keep up to date
with our newsletter Subscribe!