Punkin Center

The roadsign indicating Punkin Center, Colorado

Having a little déja vu? Nope. Today I’m talking about Punkin Center, Colorado, not Pumpkin Center, OK, or in any of the other 14 states where there’s a Pumpkin Center.

The name of Punkin Center, CO, did in fact come from the word Pumpkin, but Mildred Stevens said Punkin, so that’s what the town’s called. You see, around the year 1930, Mildred’s dad, Sears M. Stevens, built a store and filling station at the crossroads of what is now Highway 71 and Highway 94 in Lincoln County, Colorado. The new store was painted bright orange, and little Mildred said “It looks just like a big punkin!” The store was advertised as the Orange Front Filling Station but the Stevens family referred to it as the “Punkin Center” and the name stuck.

There is also a Punkin Center in Arizona but I haven’t been able to find much about it. As always, feel free to get in touch if you have any information.

Pumpkin Center

A sign for Pumpkin Center, CA
The exit sign on the I-5 for Pumpkin Center, California, (Photo by Raymond Yu)

So, I don’t actually have a story to about why Pumpkin Center is called Pumpkin Center, but I do have some interesting, random, Pumpkin Center facts.

I was looking for information on Pumpkin Center, MO, (where Kay Barnes‘ mother was born), to continue the Missouri theme, and found that since the highway was put in there isn’t much left of that town, except for maybe a couple of buildings and a photo by the road.

However, while looking for Pumpkin Center information, I discovered that there are no less than 23 towns called Pumpkin Center in the USA. There are Pumpkin Centers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia. Some states, such as Oklahoma, have several towns called Pumpkin Center. Also, in Colorado there’s a town called Punkin Center, Population 9.

So, if anyone knows why there are so many places called Pumpkin Center, or has a story about why any of the Pumpkin Centers is called Pumpkin Center, I would love to hear them.