PIERRE, S.D. – Wall, South Dakota, is one of the smaller places on South Dakota’s state map in terms of population. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in star quality, making it one of South Dakota’s Great Places.
Located on the western rim of Badlands National Park, Wall is a small town of roughly 800 residents. And yet, each year the town is visited by thousands of visitors from all corners of the globe. They’ve come to see a number of things, one of which is Wall Drug, a family-owned drug store-turned-emporium that is known across the world.
Many people know the story of Wall Drug, and how it got its claim to fame offering free ice water to travelers during the Great Depression. But few are aware of the western art collection housed within Wall Drug’s walls. The collection is estimated to be worth more than $3 million, and contains world-class pieces such as Harvey Dunn originals. It is the largest privately-owned collection of western and illustration art in the country.
Just south of Wall is Badlands National Park; 244,000 acres of harsh, rugged beauty. At first glance visitors may think the place is dead and nothing could possibly survive here. Surprisingly, along with being home to one of the world’s richest fossil beds, the park protects a large expanse of mixed-grass prairie where a number of animals thrive, such as bison, bighorn sheep, deer, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets.
A little known fact about Badlands National Park is that the 1928 bill to propose a park in the badlands used the name Teton National Park. This was an attempt to avoid the negative sound of Badlands, but today the park attracts nearly one million visitors each year.
South Dakota’s Great Places weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, designed to highlight places in South Dakota that are unique to travelers and residents alike. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Places” link at www.MediaSD.com
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