Now In: Family Update
Wall Drug, A Family Tradition
WALL DRUG, A FAMILY TRADITION
The Town of Wall was established in 1907 and struggled along as a high plains cow town, population some 300 souls. Ted, Dorothy and Bill Hustead moved to Wall and purchased the Wall Drug Store December 31, 1931, two years after the big market crash in the middle of the Great Depression. No more illogical location could have been chosen during such trying times.
Dust storms, drought, grasshoppers, crop failures, and severe winters added to the miseries of economic disaster in the Dirty Thirties. Wall was truly the "geographic center of nowhere", but fate hadn’t reckoned with the intuitiveness of the Husteads. In 1936, Dorothy conceived the idea that many a hot, dusty traveler would welcome a drink of ice water from the Wall Drug well, but they had to let the people heading to Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone know that they were there. The first signs popped up on Highway 16, and suddenly, a sleepy little prairie town became the stopping-off place for travelers across South Dakota. Those first signs worked so well that Ted put up more all over his own state and into Minnesota and Wyoming. The Ice water Store was born.
In 1951, Ted and Dorothy’s son Bill joined them in the business. Bill had the vision to create the family attraction that Wall Drug is today - a 76,000 square foot western wonderland that is enjoyed by 20,000 visitors on a busy day from all over the world. The store has something for everybody: a world class collection of western art, over 1400 historical photographs, elegant dining rooms, a Travelers Chapel, Native American Artifacts, animated attractions, giant T-Rex, a six foot rabbit and giant jackalope, a choreographed themed water show, a mining, panning and digging experience, and shopping opportunities that would make Rowland Macy, Joseph Bloomingdale and Bernard Gimbel take notice.
In 1981, Bill and Marjorie’s oldest son Rick became the first member of the third generation to join the business. In 1988, their son Ted H. also returned to the store. Dorothy passed away in November 1995, Ted died in January 1999 and their son Bill died the following October after a two year battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Bill’s wife, Marjorie, is still active in the operation of the Drug Store today and is carrying on the legacy along with two of their sons: Rick, who is now Chairman and his wife, Patt, and Ted H., who is now President and his wife Karen. Rick has 2 children: a son, Jon, who is a recent graduate from Creighton University in Omaha, NE and a daughter, Sarah, who is a student at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN. Ted & Karen have 2 sons: Willie who is 14 and Lane who is 12. Both attend the Wall School System. It is very likely that Wall Drug will continue to be run by a 4th generation of the Hustead family.
Wall Drug is an experience that entertains and educates its customers. It pays careful attention to the aesthetics and ambiance of its store. Wall Drug also takes pride in the fact that it contributes to keeping alive one of the most wholesome institutions in America today – the rural small town. Many consider Wall Drug to be the #1 Roadside Attraction in America.