Posts tagged “South Dakota

Follow the Signs

Posted on May 31, 2012

Billboards dot the roadside along most American highways today, making it difficult to imagine a time when highway signs not only drew close attention but even created a sensation. The following aerial views of two American tourist traps show the importance of highways in delivering visitors. While Wall Drug began as a small-town pharmacy with a Main Street storefront, South of the Border sprouted as a stop along U.S. Highway 301. Although both attractions built their reputations through shrewd advertising along hundreds of miles of roads, as detailed by historians Troy Henderson and Meeghan Kane in American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, the route of Interstate highways helped assure their continuation even as countless other roadside attractions closed after being marooned when the freeways whisked…

Wall, South Dakota’s Great White Way

Posted on May 5, 2012

Wall, South Dakota. Population: 766. Not the first place you would expect to find the “Great White Way.” As the Rapid City Journal reported recently, the block of Main Street in front of the famed Wall Drug (once a simple drug store but now a block-long, tourist-oriented strip mall) is nearing the completion of a project that involved repaving the roadway in concrete and the addition of a row of old streetlamp standards that seems lifted from turn-of-the-century Broadway in New York City. Wall Drug, which singlehandedly put Wall on the tourist map in the 1930s when its owners decided to reorient their drug store toward tourists passing through town, long ago became a western-themed attraction in itself. Its image has been anything but…