What’s in a Name? Pumpkin Center, LA
Welcome to Pumpkin Center, Louisiana. You read it right, and it exists. Nestled in Tangipahoa Parish, Pumpkin Center appears to be a place with a long list of stories, but no information.
Scrolling through Facebook this afternoon, I saw my friend John Latham post a picture of this sign from the interstate. I did the same thing you probably did, "Where is Baptist Pumpkin Center?" We would both be wrong. There is a Baptist, Louisiana and there is a Pumpkin Center, Louisiana. As I began to search around for this anomaly of a city, little information could be found. No listing of population, no Mayor, no Sheriff, just a name.
Come to find out, "PC" is incorrectly labeled by the laws of the state. In order to have your own fancy interstate sign, you have to have a post office in the city. Pumpkin City doesn't seem to have one "carved" in its area. They just have been there for an extremely long time.
The story of its name gets even more vague. One story I read began to describe a baseball team the area had with no name in the 1920s. A common practice for these small games was for the losing team to give the winning team a trophy of their choosing. That trophy? A pumpkin placed at center field with the losing team exclaiming, "Here's your prize, you bunch of pumpkin heads!"
A second story I read still stayed with the baseball team at that time. The star pitcher was warming up and throwing baseballs at pumpkins. He was so good, he would hit them in the center: pumpkin center, to be exact.
To put a little bow on this story, no one truly seems to know the origin of this "squash city", but the stories from different families within the city are what's important, I believe. Just think, future generations might be questioning why we have certain names of places around the SWLA area.
I'm looking at you, Moss Bluff.