The Satisfied Soul (2 of 3) by Roger Thomas
This content is part of a series.The Satisfied Soul (2 of 3)
Series: Secrets of the Soul
Introduction: Ted and Dorothy Hustead created a "gold mine" in the most unlikely of places. Anyone who has traveled west on I-90 across South Dakota has seen the signs and billboards. "Have you been to Wall Drug?" Or "Get Drugged at Wall, South Dakota!" The signs are everywhere.
Wall is a small dusty spot in the road between Sioux Falls and Rapid City, not far from the notorious Bad Lands of South Dakota. Desolate doesn't begin to describe the town. The population sign reads 800. It was less in 1931 when the Husteads opened their tiny local drug store. It didn't look like they would survive the Great Depression. Then Dorothy had an idea. The rest is history.
Today over 20,000 people a day visit Wall Drug. Yes, I said 20,000 people a day. Visitors have to stand in line to get a seat at the 520-seat restaurant. Motels, gas stations, souvenir shops of every description have sprung up through the years, but Wall Drug is the still the main attraction.
It all started with Dorothy Hustead's simple idea. Free ice water! That's all! That may not sound like much to you. But to a thirsty traveler driving across South Dakota in an un-air-conditioned car in the late 1930's, a cold glass of ice water sounded better than a bucket of gold.
Some of you know thirsty. Those of you who have been scheduled for surgery or medical tests and weren't allowed to drink anything for hours know thirst. Maybe you have worked in hot jobs. I have heard friends describe laboring near blast furnaces in a steel mill. Some of you worked by the kilns in the brick plant. I put up hay as a kid. Few places can get as hot, dusty, and dirty as a hayloft on a humid July afternoon.
Have you seen those quirky Sierra Mist soda pop commercials? One has a guy walking his dog down a hot sweltering city street. The dog approaches a fire hydrant but hesitates because it is so hot. The ...
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