Up Against the Wall

Ingenuity knows no bounds, it’s been said, and Wall Drug gives truth to the phrase. Located in the tiny town of Wall, near Badlands National Park,
on the western border of South Dakota, Wall Drug springs out of the
otherwise desolate prairie as a testimony to marketing genius. After
five years of slow business, Ted and Dorothy Hustead, in 1936, decided
to boost their small pharmacy’s traffic by placing homemade signs along
the highway that offered free ice water to visitors. Bingo! Customers
practically flooded the place, and today the sprawling establishment
(it’s far, far more than a drug store) serves up to 20,000 glasses of
ice water a day.

But water is the least of what Wall Drug offers — it is a jewelry
store, an Indian bookstore, an art gallery, a souvenir shop, a camping
outfitter, a pharmacy, a restaurant and a museum. Visitors can easily
spend hours there, wandering about the maze of shops, checking out the
six-foot rabbit outside, buying an “official Jackalope Hunting Permit,”
sampling a buffalo burger or a delicious donut or simply reading the
dozens of Wall Drug reviews that have run in publications of almost
every kind. Of course, amazed and amused guests may want to drop a few
bucks on a plaster-of-paris rattlesnake ashtray or a pair of lizard
boots. But if not, they should stop in anyway — the water’s fine. (605) 279-2175.

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