by Darla Van Rosendale
There are some who dare to dream dreams and make a difference. Among them were the Rummel family and the Dow family, both of whom individually dared to envision the creation within the city of Sioux Falls of a new type of community, one that would serve the needs of those of advancing years. Both embodied their visions in their wills. Because of the generosity and forward thinking of the Rummel family and Dow family, Dow Rummel Village is celebrating a milestone of 60 years of service to seniors in Sioux Falls. We opened our doors in March of 1963 and have seen our community grow significantly over the years to a campus of over 320 seniors today.
In 1958, after the death of Jacob Rummel, the Rummel Memorial Home was incorporated by five trustees named by Jacob Rummel and the original 9 ½ acre site located in the airport addition (formerly part of the Army Air Corp Base) was purchased from the City of Sioux Falls. In 1959 another bequest, this from the estate of Mathilda Rummel, made possible the initial building with 40 rooms: the first retirement community in Sioux Falls. In 1964 Rummel Memorial Home announced a cooperative relationship with the South Dakota Conference of the United Church of Christ as the conference was seeking opportunities to meet needs in the field of health and welfare. With relationship has remained in place with UCC Conference members serving on our Board of Trustees for the past 59 years.
In 1966 the Baron and Emilie Dow Home was incorporated for the purpose of acquiring and maintaining a home for the seniors using funds received as a bequest from Emilie Dow. After meeting with the Rummel Memorial Home Board, the Dow Foundation Board agreed to construct another building onto the campus. It was also agreed that the Dow Board would have permanent representation on the Rummel Board of Trustees, and thus we became Dow Rummel Village. This representation includes members of the Calvary Cathedral Episcopal Church and the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, which have been a part of the Board of Trustees since 1967.
Among its residents, allegiance to the Dow Rummel has always been strong. In 1986 a bequest from long-time resident Eva Allen was used to construct the Eva Allen Health Care Center. In 1992 and again in 1994, two three-story apartment buildings were added to the campus. Together the two buildings have 54 apartments. Sisters Jewell Halladay and Laura Peterson chose to gift money during their lifetimes so they could see the construction of the award-winning chapel whose first service was on Easter 1997.
In 1999 the property adjacent to the campus to the west was purchased, and we began developing a master plan to expand our campus and services. In the Fall of 2003, we opened the new Village West Apartments, adding 60 new independent apartments to the campus. In February of 2004, the Village Center was completed, bringing Dow Rummel Village to a new level as a premier retirement community with the addition of a Wellness Center including the first aquatic and therapy pools on a retirement campus in Sioux Falls, clinic, Covell’s restaurant, deli, and transportation center. In the spring of 2005, our Main Street shops, including the Main Street Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, Community Center (“The Club”), First National Branch Bank, Main Street Shoppe, and Library, were opened.
The Village South Assisted Living Center was completed in January of 2005, adding 35 assisted living apartments, and in September of 2005, our first Memory Care Center was opened with 13 beds. In 2005-2008 rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the original Dow and Rummel Wings were remodeled by combining studio apartments to make one- and two-bedroom apartments adding 31 flex apartments. These apartments offer assisted living and independent living, providing flexibility for residents who live there.
To further enhance the many services we provide, Dow Rummel Village became a Medicare and Medicaid-certified skilled nursing home in February of 2010 and began offering home health services to residents in July of that same year.
From 2017-2019 we undertook a construction project to expand our memory care and assisted living options on our campus by adding 17 more memory care and 30 assisted living apartments providing a higher level of assisted living care. The project also included a new Rose Room; a Gathering Hall by our chapel; expanding our main street including a larger beauty salon and spa, theater, coffee shop, workshop, art studio/craft room, golf simulator & outdoor putting green, and a new computer center (“The Link”).
Today our Life Plan Community consists of 114 independent apartments, 30 flex apartments offering independent living and assisted living services, 34 Village South assisted living apartments, 30 Village East high-level care assisted living apartments, 30 memory care apartments, and a 50-bed skilled nursing care center. Over the 60 years we have been in business, we have grown from 41 apartments to 288 apartments serving over 320 residents at any given time.
We look forward to future growth opportunities to serve the Sioux Falls community and continue the dreams of the Rummel and Dow families!