The story of Wall Drug began in 1931 when Nebraska native Ted Hustead, a Pharmacist, and his wife Dorothy bought the only drugstore in a town called Wall. In the beginning, times were tough, so the Husteads resorted to make their own signs advertising “free ice water” to weary interstate travelers driving to and from Mount Rushmore. Then Presto . . . People came.
More & More people began coming because of all the signs, and now the pharmacy was growing and including other stores. These are only a few of the signs they have along the thru-way and all over.
In addition to their signs and billboards around South Dakota, signs for Wall Drug began popping up around the United States and other countries, including one placed by Ted in the London Underground advertising that Wall Drug was only 5,160 miles away and that if they wrote, he would send them information on both the store and state.
Before long, it was time for Wall Drug to expand, which is when they moved into their famous 76,000-square-foot building that an estimated 2 million people visit each year.
Old Wall Drug
The new Wall Drug and it still has a pharmacy inside.
We couldn’t resist Bill.
The very best part of Wall Drug’s is that it has an incredible “Famous Art Gallery.” The collection includes 320 original paintings by some of the most celebrated artists of the Golden Age of Illustration. There is even a paintings there by Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore. There were signs all over saying don’t touch or take pictures of the paintings, I couldn’t resist a couple of times. The photographs they didn’t care, and their great also. There is just something about Cowyboys!
Dave liked the coffee and it’s still 5¢.
And you still get Free Ice Water.
What began as a small pharmacy has changed into a South Dakota institution that has everything from restaurants and donuts to shopping and photo ops.