Wall Drug

Last Updated by Brian Gevik on
All images and video courtesy: Historical Footprints Inc., Lead, SD

Anyone traveling across South Dakota on the main route to the Black Hills has seen at least a couple of roadside signs advertising Wall Drug. At heart, Wall Drug is a family-run, small town pharmacy. In fact, it's a world-famous roadside attraction and multi-million dollar contributor to South Dakota's tourism industry.

The story of how Wall Drug was established and how it grew begins with Ted and Dorothy Hustead. In 1931, they were a young couple just trying to support themselves and their family in the midst of The Great Depression.

The video clip below tells the story of where Ted and Dorothy came from, how they got together, and how they settled on Wall as their home.

Images of the Past The Early Days of Wall Drug How Ted and Dorothy Hustead's small-town pharmacy became a famous tourist attraction.

 

There were some lean years but the Hustead's family business really took off after Ted and Dorothy implemented a simple but incredibily effective marketing strategy. The video clip below tells the story of how that marketing campaign, based on free ice water and clever signage, transformed Wall Drug.

Images of the Past Marketing Wall Drug - Ice Water & Signs A simple marketing plan made a small town pharmacy world-famous.

Read Ted Hustead's account of Wall Drug's early days.

See Wall Drug in Google Street View

Related:

Educational Resource: Activity Idea During this activity your students will design a billboard, tweet and Facebook entry that will encourage people to visit a specific location like a town, business, state park, etc. Your students will also learn about Wall Drug and the simple, but incredibly effective marketing strategy that made a small town pharmacy world-famous.

Landscapes of South Dakota Wall Drug Wall Drug is a major tourist destination that began as a small family pharmacy business.

Dakota Midday

Interview with Wayne Pananen, Historical Footprints Inc., Lead


Host: Lori Walsh

"Personalities" with Chuck Anderson. Vintage radio interviews with well known and not so well known South Dakotans.

Personalities: Roy and Lucille Fitz Pt. II

In this continuation of the story of Roy and Lucille Fitz, the De Smet couple discusses the reality of the...

Personalities: Roy and Lucille Fitz, Part 1

Sadly, we're losing senior South Dakotans able to share first-hand remembrances of what life was like here in the...

Personalities: Huron Native Candace Hilligoss on Her 1962 Cult Film Classic, "Carnival of Souls"

Candace Hilligoss grew up in Huron during the 1940s and 1950s and graduated from Huron high school. After three...