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In South Dakota, the road signs lead
to the Wall

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Posted By: Judy W., 8/9/2021 9:33:25 AM

WALL, South Dakota — Everything about Wall Drug, arguably the most iconic and long-lasting drug store in America, exemplifies a doggedness. It took persistence not only to survive but also thrive against insurmountable odds in a place few thought a small business had any business starting an enterprise in the first place. In 1931, when Ted Hustead and his wife Dorothy were looking for a place to open a drug store, he told the local paper years later he picked the thinly populated town of Wall because the local doctor told them he’d give them all his prescriptions. Despite all their hard work, though, most of their potential customers passed


I've never been to Wall Drugs, or even to South Dakota, but I remember reading about it in the 1950s.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Corndoggies 8/9/2021 9:44:37 AM (No. 872799)
We just got back from our 2nd annual vacation in Branson MO. I had always assumed it was a silly tourist town, and maybe it is, but it’s also very American. Last year Branson was wide open even as Las Vegas shut down. Masks were mostly optional. It’s a beautiful part of the country, the roads are rollercoasters unto themselves. Where there is American ingenuity and love of country, there will be success.
15 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: Kate318 8/9/2021 10:06:41 AM (No. 872834)
We stopped at Wall Drugs on our way home from an RV trip last year, as I needed something for a headache. I had never been there, but always heard about it, and the signs are relentless in SD. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is no drug store at Wall Drugs. It is basically a trading post with blocks and blocks of everything under the sun, EXCEPT drugs. It’s a unique experience, and worth seeing, but if you need acetaminophen, find a Walgreens.
11 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: bamapreacher 8/9/2021 10:09:53 AM (No. 872840)
I remember a road trip my parents and I took from Philadelphia to Yellowstone and there were a bunch of tempting signs ("300 miles to Wall Drug" and "See the live octopus at Wall Drug") about Wall Drug but my parents wouldn't go out of their way.
3 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: bamboozle 8/9/2021 10:20:35 AM (No. 872852)
Actually #2, 30 or so years ago, we needed to get a prescription filled for our son who had developed an ear infection during a trip. The Wall drug store actually had a prescription counter. You had to go down a back hallway and up a long flight of stairs, but there at the top of the stairs they did sell meds. Don't know about today though.
7 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Grackle 8/9/2021 10:36:53 AM (No. 872877)
Our family has stopped at Wall Drug more times than I care to admit. It's total kitsch. But we'll undoubtedly stop again.
10 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: MDConservative 8/9/2021 11:39:12 AM (No. 872965)
FTA: "Everything about Wall Drug from its early trials to its innovative path to prosperity reflects that frontier spirit America was built on; it is an enduring quality that has embodied us and still embodies us to this day. " Had the New York Times or Washington Post published this the "frontier spirit" would have included the pioneer and army genocidal decimation of indian tribes and the theft of their spititually vital Black Hills for white man's gold. Those "enduring qualities" cast as systemic racism and white supremacy.
1 person likes this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: NorthernDog 8/9/2021 11:49:42 AM (No. 872980)
It's worth stopping just to see a slice of Americana. Some old timers say it reminds them of the old Route 66.
3 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: ramona 8/9/2021 11:56:56 AM (No. 872992)
I've made many stops at Wall over the years as I travelled from WY to MN. Coffee and a doughnut, walk around to stretch the legs and see the touristy kitsch. A lovely state trooper rescued me about 20 miles east of Wall when my Plymouth Fury broke down. He let me bring my cat into his car and took us back to the police station. There, the local cops arranged for me to get a pet-friendly room at a hotel and they called for a tow truck and they called a service station to get help for the car. The trooper drove me to the hotel. I've never forgotten that kindness. Always felt so comfortable on my own taking a break from a long drive . It's been a long time since I've been in Wall but I'm glad there is still a place to stop out there. Ramona (the Pest)
9 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: Zeek Wolfe 8/9/2021 12:15:25 PM (No. 873017)
when I was a boy we stopped at Wall Drug because of the signs. What remains in memory from that trip is a stop in Arizona at a trading post on route 66. For many, many miles there were signs showing colorful, scary snakes. They had big eyes and long fangs, but the signs also promised "baby rattlers." If we stopped at the trading post dad could have an ice-cold beer and the kids could get up close and personal with the baby rattlers. We drove and drove in the heat heading for LA. Mom didn't want dad to have a beer and then drive, but the day was sweltering and the water "airconditioner" in the passenger side window was not working very well. The waterbag on the door latch was empty so we stopped where a giant "arrow" doubled as a road sign for the trading for beer, me to see the scary rattlers. The Schlitz was real beer. The rattlers? In a 'cage' about the size of child's wading pool were about 50 plastic baby rattles...little elephants, lions, tigers, oh my, bears and even a little vice president Nixon with moveable arms and head. I was crushed and never forgot this deceit.
3 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Thos Weatherby 8/9/2021 12:27:54 PM (No. 873031)
Outside of Kyoto, Japan, there's a sign painted on a building with an arrow pointed towards Wall Drug, 10100 km ahead. Wall Drugs marketing using road signs hundreds if not thousands of miles down the road seems to work well. Who can't stop?
4 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Lake Dweller 8/9/2021 12:51:19 PM (No. 873052)
I went there as a kid with my parents and fell in love with Wall Drug. I took my wife there and one of my daughters has visited. I love Wall Drug for all the reasons in this excellent article.
2 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: MamaX3 8/9/2021 12:52:02 PM (No. 873054)
Good food, cold drinks, even better ice cream. Love this place and everyone and everything in it. Right outside the Badlands, what else do you need?
0 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: Birddog 8/9/2021 1:26:03 PM (No. 873092)
Wall Drug, The Corn Palace, Paul Bunyon and Babe...all excuses to "Have been out there", if you have seen them, you know the real trip was about seeing the wide open spaces in between, realizing just how small the city is, and how small the people are who just stayed there..
3 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: lakerman1 8/9/2021 4:25:56 PM (No. 873288)
Stopped there in 1988, middle of summer, had a bottle of Coca Cola for 5 cents. The place is silly, but we need some silly in our lives now and then.
1 person likes this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: Bur Oak 8/9/2021 5:39:17 PM (No. 873346)
When in Wall go east of town and take a tour of the missile launch site. Don't step off the runner in the house or the Park Service control freak will growl at you.
0 people like this.

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