Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
December 21, 1961, Vol. VII, No. 9
In Wall, S.D., It’s Wall Drug
By John Wilcock
From time to time in this newspaper you may have seen a small ad announcing: “In Wall, South Dakota — it’s Wall Drug.” More than once the ad has even appeared in a “Night Life” section — intentionally, I’d like to think.
At any rate, the ad, together with comments from itinerant friends about how similar signs line the highway all over the Midwest, finally prompted me to write to the Wall Drugstore to solicit more information. Owner Bill Hustead responded with a picture of himself standing beside one of the batch of new signs that he’s just up alongside Interstate Route 90 [“Read the Village Voice at Wall Drug”]. He says that as a result he’s met some very interesting people who blow into the store demanding to see the latest issue.
The drugstore is a big place with 85 employees, counter, gas station, dummy cowboy musicians who perform every 15 minutes, nickel cups of coffee, a free children’s playground with stuffed animals, an enormous 80-foot dinosaur similar to the variety that roamed the surrounding Badlands centuries ago, and a corral full of donkeys. Bill says, in a masterpiece of understatement: “We are one of the few drugstores that sells donkeys.”
It all began back in 1931, when the Husteads put up signs all over the state offering free ice water. To motorists stifled by the heat it sounded like a good excuse to stop. Now they stop off in such numbers that Bill says: “On a good day we serve 56 dozen eggs for breakfast.”
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 16, 2009