It All Started With Free Ice Water

One of the world’s most well-known roadside stops, it’s hard to believe this tourist attraction got its start with something so simple.

It was December 1931. Dorothy and I had just bought the only drugstore in a town called Wall on the edge of the South Dakota Badlands. We'd been open a few days, and business had been bad.

I stood shivering on the wooden sidewalk. In this little prairie town there were only 326 people, 326 poor people. Most of them were farmers who'd been wiped out either by the Depression or drought.

Christmas was coming, but there was no snow, no sparkling lights — just viciously cold air. Out on the prairie the cold wind whipped up dust devils. I could see a Tin Lizzie chugging along the two-laner. Suitcases were strapped to the running boards. Someone's going home for the holidays, I thought to myself. I wished they would stop, just for a cup of coffee, but they didn't. Here on Main Street, no one was out.

Read more about the history of Wall Drug


America's Favorite Roadside Attraction!

Plan a road trip through South Dakota, and do not forget to stop at Wall Drug, the ultimate South Dakota tourist attraction known around the globe for its American charm and FREE ice waterRead the story of Ted and Dorothy Hustead and learn how they turned a small pharmacy of the Great Depression era into a booming tourist attraction in the "geographical middle of nowhere" with the promise of free ice water and more than 3,000 signs around the world.

Get the scoop on the city of Wall, a small community with big personality and hospitality like you have never seen. Once you have done your research, plan a road trip to the Black Hills and visit all of the South Dakota tourist attractions!

Looking for family vacation ideas that won’t break the bank? Plan an all-American road trip to the Black Hills, including Mount Rushmore, and don’t miss a chance to stop at Wall Drug Store. Expect to spend some time stretching your legs, exploring the shops, and discovering activities at Wall Drug, including our 6-foot tall jackalope, donut factory,  and Western art gallery.

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