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Monday, May 10, 2010

Wonderful, Wacky Wall Drug



Most of you have probably heard of Wall Drug. If not, let me tell you about this tourist trap shopping phenomenon in Wall, South Dakota. It started out as a small drugstore in 1931, bought by Ted and Dorothy Hustead. They attracted customers from the nearby highway to their tiny store by making up numerous signs (similar to the Burma Shave signs) and offering free ice water. Read more about the history of Wall Drug here.

Ice water sign that we saw on the way to Wall Drug.



In fact, we started seeing signs 45 miles from Wall Drug. As you get closer, the sign are more frequent; then about every 400 feet or so.

It's become somewhat of a joke about Wall Drug signs. They are popping up all over the world. Here is one in Afghanistan.


photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Sign found in the South Pole


photo courtesy of http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=122869&page=5

And then there's the sign in Amsterdam


photo courtesy of kevinw.com/Trips/EuropeTrip/index.html

The once small drugstore is now huge, with many rooms filled with toys, souvenirs, clothing, and even a cafe. They offer free coffee and donuts to Veterans and honeymooners. (I wonder how you prove that you're on your honeymoon?) There are several other stores, too.

Walking in the halls of Wall Drug



Towards the back and outside are things for kids, like this moving, roaring dinosaur.



This place draws, on average, twenty thousand people a day. Now THAT'S good advertising.

Would I go there again? Probably not. But at least I can say that I've been to Wall Drug!

14 comments:

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

dang! that is a lot of people! i've heard of them before and would like to visit. doubt that i do, but as usual you have given me a glimpse of the unusual.

Rae said...

I've heard of that place but never knew the story behind it. 20,000 shoppers a day - wow. They must be making a pretty good profit off that cheap advertising. Hard to believe it all started from a mom and pop drugstore.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Yes -- I agree with you -- it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience; I wouldn't go back either, but glad I went once. Enjoying the vicarious road trip -- keep 'em comin'!

Sunny said...

Wow! 20,000 shoppers a day, that's really off the wall!
It sounds like a fun place to visit at least once.
Sunny :)

Steven Anthony said...

I love wall drug, one of my favorite places I ever visited as a child....and the setting of one of my fav books, pictures from a trip....

as always enjoyed traveling with you;)

Gail said...

That's alot...I don't think I will stop in. I am far more comfortable away from the madding crowd.

Brian Miller said...

dang 20,000 people...i wanna see the dinosaur!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

okay, now you have me thinking about posting billboards for free water with your hook-up......... well you see where I am going with this....

misslynda said...

That is pretty neat. I think I might have heard of it before - - but don't know if I would care to make it a priority on a trip. You have told us about so many more interesting and beautiful places that I would rather see.

wenn said...

wow, great tourist spot!

Carletta said...

Did you buy a bumper sticker that said I've been to Wall Drug - I just KNOW they had to have one. :)

Love that dinosaur below.
I'll have to come back and catch up some more. It looks like I've missed a lot of good stuff.

A New England Life said...

I have to say I've never heard of Wall Drug before. Looks like quite a touristy place though! Somehow I think it lost the drugstore feel a looong time ago.

Have you ever been to the Black Cat in Arizona(I think it was Arizona)? I'm not sure if it's even there anymore but billboards dotted the roadside for 150 miles out. We had to stop and see what it was all about. The store may have even been on Rt 66.

SquirrelQueen said...

I have heard of Wall Drug, I think there may have been something about it on the internet or TV. It sounds like a great place to visit once.

Allen said...

Their advertising is awesome. I have never been, and I probally wont ever go.

You have to give them credit for the FREE Ice Water. did you get yours?