The town of Wall is just eight miles north of the Pinnacles Entrance to Badlands National Park , and it’s the largest service provider of food and accommodations for park-goers in the region. The community is even named for one of the park formations, the wall of spires that runs for miles on the north end of the Badlands. Geologically, the wall is the ancient northern bank of the White River that carved out the Badlands formations.
Founded in 1907, the town of Wall was, like many of South Dakota’s prairie communities, founded on railroad expansion, cattle, and homesteading. In 1931, Wall was a dusty flat-out broke town with a little over 300 residents. Ted Hustead, a fairly recent graduate of pharmacy school, searched the plains looking for a good place to buy or build a pharmacy of his own and settled on the town of Wall.
It was not the best choice, or so it seemed. Cars would chug by the little town on their way to Rapid City , 55 miles to the west, but no one stopped in Wall. Ted and his wife, Dorothy, decided to give it five years. As the end of the fifth year drew near, and success had still not graced the small pharmacy, Dorothy came up with the idea of enticing motorists off the highway with the promise of free ice water.
Ted figured it couldn’t hurt, and put up signs for miles advertising the free water with jingles that automobile riders could read as they drove. It was an instant hit and Wall Drug  has been the driving force of tourism in Wall ever since. Today, Wall Drug is the largest employer in town, followed by Badlands National Park .