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.

Remembering South Dakota Native Hubert Humphrey

Hubert H. Humphrey was one of the most prominent politicians and policy-makers in the United States from the mid...

Personalities: Col. Chuck "Sam" Gemar - South Dakota Astronaut

Chuck Gemar was born in Yankton and graduated from Scotland high school in 1973. He was accepted into the United...

Personalities: Jim McKinney, Fmr. SDSU Band Director

Jim McKinney came to South Dakota State University in 1975 and was SDSU's band director from 1983 until his...

Personalities: A Pearl Harbor Survivor's Story

Charles "Chuck" Isakson (1917-1997), a Webster native and longtime Huron resident, was among some 50 South Dakotans...

Personalities: Joe Foss

Radio host Chuck Anderson traveled to Joe Foss's Scottsdale, Arizona home in 1996 for an interview with one of the...

Personalities: Amy Burnett

Amy Burnett is one of the best South Dakota basketball players ever. Burnett grew up in Huron and led Huron High to...

Personalities: George Hall, Creator and Collector of South Dakota History

While many bookworms spend their time cocooned in public libraries and bookstores searching for the next great story,...

Personalities: The South Dakota State Fair

The South Dakota State Fair is different every year and yet it never really changes. It's a capstone experience for...