Friday, April 28, 2017

Wall Drug Store, Wall, South Dakota

The infamous Wall Drug ~~ we first saw an ad for it when we were in Jasper, Arizona last year, and on our way here on I-90 there were so many billboards advertising it ~~ of course, it had to be on our list of must sees. Wall is located in the "Badlands" of South Dakota. The "Badlands" was named when French trappers who explored the west in the early 1800s called the area a "bad land to cross." The Dakota Sioux Indians labeled it "makosica," meaning "land bad."

Dorothy and Ted Hustead bought Wall Drug Store in 1931. When they moved here there were 326 people in Wall ~ very poor people, most of them farmers who had been wiped out either by the Depression or drought. 

Ted Hustead was a pharmacist and was looking for a small town with a Catholic Church, which they found in Wall. The store and town were not prospering and many travelers were driving by without stopping. On a hot July day, Dorothy came up with an idea. Realizing that all the cars going by through the hot, dusty prairie would have thirsty folks inside, she proposed that they set up signs on the highway telling people to come in for free ice water ~~ the rest is history. 

Wall Drug has turned into a tourist attraction with a cafe, pharmacy, Emporium, Jewelry stores, hat and shoe store - basically a unique shopping mall ~ re-created into a Western town with native lumber and old brick buildings. 

Main Hall
 Upon entering there are some statutes that just beckon pictures:

Apothecary Shoppe
The back yard has lots of giant animals to climb on and have your picture taken, so of course we had to take some more pictures of us having fun:

At one of the stores, it was even selling Jackalopes, so we had to get our pictures taken on one of them (above).

This display shows Wild Bill Hickok and Doc Holliday playing poker. Although it is not the famous "Dead Man's Hand," it shows that cheating was taken seriously in the Old West. This scene is fashioned after N.C. Wyeth's "Wild Bill Hickok At Cards."

The T-Rex is animated, but when we were there most of the animated displays were not working. 

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