Wall Drug, South Dakota

Yes Virginia, there is a Wall Drug.

Wall Drug was a little drug store in a small dusty town reeling from the Great Depression. Then the pharmacist’s clever wife realized that people were traveling like never before to see the construction and building of Mount Rushmore. So she told her husband to put a sign out on the highway offering people free ice water. It worked like a charm. By the next year they had to hire more than half a dozen people. Today it’s a 76000 square foot roadside attraction.

Now that is good old American ingenuity.

I adore their billboards. There are dozens and dozens of them.

They’re mostly in the traditional style of the 1930’s. At that time the use of billboards was widespread because of the increasing popularity of the car and family road trips. Advertisers used cartoons and bright colors to portray a sort of happy-go-lucky optimism. Buy this product and you can be happy! (in spite of the Depression).

We were getting close to Wall Drug. After so many billboards, hundreds of them, I was expecting a lot.

I had forgotten by that point that South Dakota is the king of the build up…

The entrance…

I do like the 80 ft dinosaur.

The store front..and a really crowded parking lot.  That’s understandable though, there’s nowhere else to stop. I’m serious there is no where.

But the store itself is right here, in case you needed to know.

I like the parking horses. They’re pretty.

Not a horse (or parking spot) in sight but never mind they’re pretty.

The giant monkey is a little odd. Fun odd but still odd.

It was a shame that the quarter slot to hear him play was “Out of Order”

I’ve never been serenaded by a giant monkey.

And here is the infamous jackalope

And right near the jackalope is a 6ft bunny that desperately needs a hug.

This buffalo looks like it wants to say something…

I’m thinking he is a little freaked out by all the wooden people.

Or annoyed that they stuffed him but didn’t stuff them.

Or he could just be worried that the statue behind him is ready to poke him in the butt.

This wooden guy is rather noble looking.

I think they meant this lady one as a compliment but she looks a little grumpy.

Maybe she should go give the bunny a hug.

I like this one, he looks pensive.

I mean he is flammable but he is also sitting next to the fire extinguisher.

Cheer up buddy.

And then it was so interesting. There was a long hallway with a photo gallery.

We were looking at them having a good time when..

What the ????!!!

An animatronic T-Rex.

And not a damn tree to hide behind anywhere.

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10 thoughts on “Wall Drug, South Dakota

  1. What do you mean you’ve never been serenaded by a giant monkey?? It’s something everyone should experience before they hit 40!

  2. I loved that you shared your experience and photos with us. It was like I was there with you. I think most people find these side-show stops boring, like my teenage-niece and most of her friends, but I love them. They like fancy museums, amusement parks, and popular attractions.
    Thank you for posting them Virginia.

    1. Thanks Doc. I love these sort of places too. It’s the real America I think. Kitsch and business smarts, absolute silliness in a grand setting. They don’t let people take photos in the art gallery but they have paintings by some of the American greats like Wyeth and then right besides them crowded all over the walls they also had paintings that were by amateurs. It was awesome.

  3. Oh how I love you for posting these pictures… I have been to wall drug and i took my kids on their last “family road trip” driving from Tulsa Oklahoma to Wall Drug and all of the parts in-between… a smile came across my face the second I opened up your blog (as I do everyday now! yes I love your little blog!)

    Now that i live in the islands, I miss little parts of “americana”…. oh how they pull at my heartstrings…

    T.

  4. I’ve had friends who’ve been to Wall Drug, but I never knew about all the fun stuff outside. Did you get coffee for 5 cents? I think I’ve been on the subway with some of those wooden folks.

    Really enjoying your trip with you. Thanks!

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