Much More Than a Drugstore
Wall is a small town with a worldwide reputation, thanks to Wall Drug, the popular road trip pit stop just off Interstate 90. The town was incorporated in 1908, named for its location near the high wall of nearby Badlands National Park.
During the Great Depression, Wall was hit hard. But in 1931 pharmacist Ted Hustead and his wife, Dorothy, decided to buy the local drugstore and begin offering free ice water to tourists headed west for the Black Hills and the Badlands. Visitors stopped in, and bought enough souvenirs and food to keep the business going. They put their profits into advertising, with signs scattered all over the world.
Today, the Hustead family presides over a Wall Drug that covers nearly a city block, offering entertainment, meals, souvenirs, fudge, pottery, toys and a range of other services. It’s also home to one of the region’s largest collections of Western art.
Wall, population 800, is more than a drug store. Dozens of motels, campgrounds, restaurants are other businesses serve the tourism market. In addition, Wall is the headquarters for West River Electric Cooperative and Golden West Telecommunications, a broad-based technology company that grew out of the local telephone exchange.
Badlands National Park is 244,000 acres of rugged beauty with tall spires, vast grasslands and abundant wildlife, including bison, antelope and bighorn sheep.