Dakota Tin: Proud to a Part of Yankton’s History

DakotaTin is a company that strongly believes in the importance of local communities. While our products are available to homeowners and businesses all over the country, we feel it is extremely important to support our community of Yankton, South Dakota.

One of the ways we support the local area is by making our home in the Gurney Building, an area landmark with a rich history in agriculture, business, and even radio.

The Gurney Building: A Brief History

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The Gurney Building was built by Charles W. Gurney, a Civil War lieutenant colonel who made his living in post-war America by opening a seed company. Originally, Gurney’s operation was located in eastern Iowa, but he eventually moved to Dixon County in Nebraska, which sits along the Missouri River, not far from Vermillion, South Dakota.

Gurney saw the benefit of living in a river town, especially on a river so economically vibrant as the Missouri. As his seed business grew, he would eventually need to expand his operations and decided to move north of the river, to Yankton.

The Gurney Seen and Nursery Company would stay in Yankton, South Dakota for over 50 years.

Not far from the banks of the river, Gurney would establish a seed house that was essential to his company. With this building, the company was able to enhance its efficiency and expand operations while providing high-quality jobs to the local area. Business grew and became more popular; by 1924, Gurney’s company was selling seeds and plants in 46 states. They were even shipping goods to five foreign countries.

The Gurney Building, which is now an important historical landmark for Yankton, has held multiple uses throughout the years. Yankton’s radio station, WNAX, even made its home in the facility.

The station was headed by Gurney’s grandson, John Chandler Gurney, or “Chan” as he was commonly called. Chan was an accomplished radio talent who recognized the advantage that a radio station could give to a business like the Gurney Seed and Nursery Company.  This strategy was already being used by one of Gurney’s main competitors, a seed company in Iowa. After conducting research, Chan recommended that Gurney Seed purchase WNAX. The transaction was complete and a radio tower was soon erected at the top of the Gurney Building.

Although the Gurney family sold the business in 1942, the company itself remained in Yankton, providing jobs to residents and economic stimulation to the area. Even through multiple ownership changes during the 20th century, the seed company maintained residence at the Gurney Building. In the mid-1980, the company provided roughly 700 jobs in the local area.

In 2000, however, the company was purchased by a marketing firm, which moved operations to a facility in Indiana. A Yankton heritage that had lasted 118 years came to a close.

The jobs may have been relocated, but the building remains an important part of Yankton. Now called the “Gurney Landing,” the location is helping rebuild the economic stability of the town. Through remodeling and revisions, the site hopes to soon hold apartments, retail outlets, office suites, and more.

There is even a proposal in the works to create a casino in the building. According to KSFY, city officials are working on a preliminary plan to a casino and entertainment center at the Gurney Building. This proposal obviously has a lot of political and economical hills to climb, but it could bring more activity to the Yankton area.

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As a locally-owned and operated business, DakotaTin is proud to make its home in the Gurney Building. This location serves multiple functions for our operations, including warehouse and storage.

With excellent loading docks and a wide space for trucks, the Gurney Building has helped us throughout our continued growth. Along with other business - a Florist, CPA office, massage therapist, and a publishing company, we are very much at home in the Gurney Building.