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Travel with Bennett-Watt and discover the historic photos display exhibit the Wall Drug in Wall South Dakota.
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The Historic Photos Display at Wall Drug in Wall South Dakota
Ted Hustead: This is the kitschy part of Wall Drug. How can you have a road side attraction? How can you have be in the tourism business without a little kitsch? Well, we’ve had the bucking horse and the giant jackalope for generations here and we have customers coming in now, second generation, third generation bringing their children and grand children to get their picture taken on the bucking horse because they still have a picture of themselves when they were young on the bucking horse at Wall Drug and I don’t know how many hundreds of people do this everyday but they get their picture taken on the bucking horse and then in the stage sported by our miniature Mount Rushmore and this is just a very enjoyable part of Wall Drug that people never forget.
Well, we are in the Wall Drug backyard and out here we have nine different collections of old historical photos. We have about 1400 historical photos altogether. We have pictures of Frontier justice, the legal hanging in mid county in South Dakota and this launched war, shot two guys to death and he was tried, convicted and hanged in South Dakota, and we have pictures of the reign’s frontier. Pictures of the cowboy that came out here and settled and pioneered home steadied out here in western South Dakota. The type of homes that they lived in, here are pictures of the dirty 30s, the smothering of dust storms we had in the dress of dust and dirt during those times and we had a drought going on. We had high unemployment. We had terrible dust storms and times are really tough out here in western South Dakota during those times.
Here are pictures of the custom rocks tradition into the Black Hills, pictures of the Wounded Knee Massacre, Calamity Jane and many of the colorful characters in Deadwood, South Dakota and again, more pictures of what life looks like out on the prairie and if you look at these pictures, you can see how tough times were and how lonely it was to live out here. Here we have four people with each home steadied a quarter of land but they all put their homes in the corner right by each other. So, they would have some company and some close neighbors and you think about what these people went through just to prepare a meal let alone get through a day out here and it’s really quite incredible.
Another thing that comes to mind as you look through these photos is how short our history is. You know, in South Dakota, in 1880, you know, 100 years ago, 120 years ago, there was living out here. I mean, you compare that to not only Europe but even eastern America. This coast which has many hundreds of years of history, we don’t. We have a very short history in a couple long way in a very short time and many of the people live here now. Their grandparents were pioneers out here and their great grandfathers and it’s really kind of amazing. We are reminded about how easy we got it now and all the things that we take for granted. I don’t know what these people would have given for just a refrigerator is quite uneasy. Not to mention lights and electricity and some of the things that we’ve taken for granted but one thing they could do very well is write because we have a lot of old letters that we have up in the Calgary man that would write back and they’re all beautiful writers. That was before email.
We all brought smooth packs, digging and mining experience and in the summer time and even now, you can pan for gemstones and dig for fossils and gem stones in the same with the mine. Now, those mines, the shaft number three it goes down about 2500 feet. Number two is the shower mining is about 2000 feet and mine number one just goes above the first mine we had and it just goes down 500 feet and really they hit ground and then we moved over and made a deeper mine here and really hit it pretty big.
Male: So, you actually take people down in these mines?
Ted Hustead: No, we don’t take them down. We do let him go in mine but we also take this dirt out of the mine and these kids come in and they pan and they get to keep whatever they find in the bag and we probably had to the course of the summer, 20 third, fourth and fifth graders that did so well that they got to go home with this tool.
That is our T-rex. It goes off every 12 minutes. This is the Wall Drug Mining Company. This is a walk on shop extraordinaire, fossils, rocks, minerals, some great artifacts and relics, everything from a monstrous called T-rex goal. The prairie was a beautiful place on this hearth came through here. The grass was like an ocean and they’re just full of all kinds of wild western, you know.
This is just a little gallery. This is a flat billionaire playing card, another pictorial, Wall Drug Arcade, shooting gallery, little riches shop then we have Mr. T-rex here and another family pictorial.
Female: So, is that your dad or your grandfather right there?
Ted Hustead: That’s my father. This is him, my father right here, my father and mother. When I was a kid, these were the famous people that they had hanging in the coffee shop, the drug store that had been here, the drug store. Jack Dempsey, Gaylon Bartel, Joe Lewis, Robert Taylor, Casey Tibbs, World Champion Cowboy, they didn’t allow local politicians.