When you are driving along I-90, the Badlands of South Dakota don’t look so bad. Of course, to really see the Badlands, you need to at least loop off the interstate, but we had 350 miles to drive from Sioux Falls to Rapid City. Besides, starting at the Iowa - South Dakota state line, I had started seeing signs advertising something called “Wall Drug”: “Kids like Wall Drug”, “Wall Drug Rocks”, “Cowboy Up! Wall Drug” were a few. I kept trying to figure out what “Wall Drug” could possibly be. As we got closer, signs like “Homemade Pie, Wall Drug” made it a little clearer. It’s some kind of roadside tourist attraction.
When we finally got to Wall, South Dakota, around lunch time, what it was became clearer. Wall Drug started out as a drugstore during the depression. The owners, Ted and Dorothy Hustead, had a hard time making a go of it, but when Mount Rushmore opened as tourist attraction, Dorothy had an idea. Wall Drug could advertise free ice water for tourists travelling through Wall on their way to Rapid City, and once people came into the store, they might decide to buy lunch, or coffee, or ice cream. It worked. Ted’s son Bill began adding the other attractions that make Wall Drug what it is today.
We had burgers and pie for lunch and took a few pictures before wandering on our merry way. I also sent a post card to my aunt (there is a post office). John refused to pose on the jackalope, however. Spoilsport!
|Restaurant, with Western Art|
|The Jackalope, which would have looked better with John on it.|