A Sioux Falls family is closely following the progress of excavators working at the downtown site of the Village on the River development.  

On Thursday, KELOLAND News showed you how crews unearthed an old foundation from a onetime laundry business. Eventually, crews will be digging next-door at the site of a longtime ice cream company.  

Ice cream and candy were the bread and butter-brickle of the Fenn family for nearly a century.

“Just being down there, around all the sweets, was fabulous.  Enjoyed it totally,” Patty Coddington said.

Patty Coddington is a great, great granddaughter of one of the co-founders of Fenn’s who turned ice cream into a hot commodity in Sioux Falls.

“There’s no ice cream made like it. It was butter and all the good stuff that now we can’t eat. Yeah, it was all the good stuff, it was all the really good stuff,” Coddington said.

Fenn’s even went global in its heyday. Selling candy all around the world.

“And there was a train track because they would bring in chocolate, liquid chocolate in railroad cars, it looked like an oil tanker. And you could smell it all downtown. It just smelled heavenly,” Mary Jane Fenn

The family has held onto all kinds of mementos from Fenn’s, including this half-gallon carton of peach ice cream. But there’s no need to bring out a spoon, the box is empty. Now the family is intrigued by what, if anything excavators may dig-up at the old Fenn’s site.

“I want to be down there and see it happen and see what’s there.  I hope it’s nothing scary,” Coddington said.

Fenn’s went out of business in 1971.  A local ice cream empire melting away into the past. As a family wonders what pieces of history might float to the surface.

More than 200 people worked at Fenn’s during the company’s peak, making it one of the largest employers in the city.