A major tourist crossroads in the upper midwest portion of the USA is Wall Drug, which offers its services, including free ice water, on billboards for many hundreds of miles in every direction from Wall, South Dakota, on the edge of the Badlands National Park.
In 1936 the wife of a struggling pharmacist named Ted Hustead in this 231 person town got the idea of offering free ice water to hot and thirsty tourists on the way to see the newly opened Mount Rushmore memorial 60 miles to the west. Business boomed, and Wall Drug began to morph into a cowboy themed shopping mall/department store that became a destination itself. While most malls have individually owned shops, the third-generation of Husteads still own and operate the entire enterprise.
Signs and billboards for Wall Drug are found at the South Pole, in Afganistan and on over 500 miles of I-90, from Minnesota to Billings, Montana. I have seen them in Tennessee and Kentucky, and always wondered what the place was.
Among the dozens of shops you can buy most anything (they still fill prescriptions), including 5 cent coffee in the cafe. If you are a veteran, stop in for free coffee and a donut!
A quick scan of the license plates outside showed cars from Alaska, Texas, Washington, California, Georgia and many nearby states. Truly a crossroads!
USA-Canada / USA-South Dakota
Lat: 43° 59' 35.63" N
Long: 102° 14' 30.46" W
Elevation: 2818 ft
→ maps.google.com [EXT]
Precision is: Unknown / Undeclared.
OpenStreetMap: © OpenStreetMap contributors
MapQuest: Tiles Courtesy of MapQuest
Portions Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech and U.S. Depart. of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency
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