WALL, S.D. (KOTA) - Temperatures continue to increase, but the free ice water at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota is still ice cold.
Wall Drug started this historic tradition in the 30s when the store originally opened in 1931 by Dorothy and Ted Hustead. Dorothy Hustead suggested to her husband that the store should offer free ice water to travelers leaving the torrid Badlands.
“Ted thought it was a little corny, but it might just work, “said Rick Hustead chairman and third generation store owner. "He hired a high school boy and they went and put the sign up and before they got back the first customer had already stopped. Ted thought if one sign had an impact what would 20 or 30 signs along the highway leading to Wall do."
Wall Drug is now a prominent tourist attraction with its own way of advertising. From the free ice water to the billboards and bumper stickers you can find across the world, Wall Drug certainly put a small, western, rural South Dakota town on the map.
“The population of Wall is 800 and to be so widely known over the world that is pretty rare for a small town,” said Sarah Hustead, manager and fourth generation of the Hustead family tree. “We have visitors coming from five generations of families and it's just really special to see that not only is it a multi generational business, but we have multi generational customers."