Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 1 in South Dakota - Wall Drug in Wall, SD

In 1931, a young pharmacist, Ted Hustead, and his wife, Dorothy, purchased a drug store in Wall, South Dakota. They gave themselves five years to build their business into a success. By 1936, the pharmacy wasn't the success Ted desired. Though he filled a few prescriptions, he spent much of his time swatting flies and looking out the door at the shade-less street.

One hot day in July Dorothy tried to nap with her two children but the loud jalopies on Route 16A kept her awake. An idea on how to bring people into the store popped into her head. All those people driving across the prairie were thirsty. They'd put up signs along the road advertising free ice water. On the day Ted put the signs out, people were already arriving before he returned to the store.

While getting their free ice water, some customers bought ice cream cones, sodas, and other items. From that day on, Wall Drug had plenty of customers each day. The following summer it was necessary to hire eight girls to help out. Now the drug store draws up to 20,000 customers on a good summer day.

My husband and I ate lunch in the cafe attached to the drug store. Larry had their buffalo burger which he said was delicious. I wasn't brave enough and opted for a regular hamburger. After lunch we browsed the many gift shops. That evening we came back for pie with homemade ice cream and a cup of their 5 cent coffee.

Thanks to JL Wilson for telling me about Wall Drug. Otherwise, we'd have missed it. If you're ever in the area, it's worth your time to stop.

My next post will be will be about Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Thanks for reading and writing!



  1. Wish I had seen Wall Linda. Our first day was from Rapid City airport to Hill City, Mountains to Praries B&B. We took the scenic drive and crossed the railroad tracks 19 times...said Sam. Never thought I'd think it but it was pretty as a New England fall day.
    P.S. next time try the buffalo burger...mmmmm ;-)
    Nancy C

  2. You guys saw a whole lot more than we did. I think the long drive tired us out. I bet the scenic drive was pretty. We went through Rapid City on the way home but not sure it was the scenic route.

    I plan to try the buffalo burger first chance I get. Anything to save a few calories.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


  3. LINDA--what a wonderful story! I thought you were writing an idea for one of your fun novels. I'll tune in next when you do Mt.Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument--you will be stunned by both! While at Mt. Rushmore, after we'd had lunch in the large cafeteria, we walked a second time up the wide path lined with flags to gawk once more. There on the walkway we met a couple from our town way down here in Texas, in face he and my dh were at the university at the same time.
    Enjoy every moment--you won't forget it! Celia

  4. It would make a good story, wouldn't it, Celia. I'll give that some thought.

  5. Sounds like you had the best time with the trip. I love going places and discovering little site like Wall Drugs. Looking forward to the next installment of your trip!


  6. Yes, we did, Judith. I'd never heard of Wall Drug until JL Wilson told me about it.