World Wide Wade Goes West—Episode VI: Wall, South Dakota

7/6/10Follow @wroush

If Xconomy had an official interstate highway, it would be I-90. The longest highway in the whole interstate system, it stretches 3,099 miles from Logan Airport in Boston (Xconomy’s birthplace) to Safeco Field in Seattle (the second city in our network).

On our way to San Francisco, we followed I-90 from Boston to Buffalo, and then picked it up again in southwestern Minnesota and followed it all the way to Rapid City, SD. If you’ve ever driven through South Dakota on I-90, you know that the humorous, hand-painted billboards for Wall Drug start to appear hundreds of miles before you reach Wall. And after all those teasers, who can resist actually stopping in Wall, if only to break the monotony of driving across South Dakota’s vast, rolling grasslands?

I stopped in Wall the first time on my trip East to join Xconomy in 2007, so it seemed only appropriate to stop there again on the way back to San Francisco. This time I stayed overnight and made a point of meeting some local citizens, including Mayor Dave Hahn, who’s featured in today’s video.

Wall may seem remote, but Mayor Hahn informed me that it’s home to Golden West Telecommunications, which was incorporated in 1916, is one of the nation’s oldest rural telephone cooperatives, and now provides cable and high-speed Internet service to thousands of South Dakota residents and businesses. Mayor Hahn added that the despite the economy’s woes, the city is generally thriving, thanks to the sales taxes generated by the 20,000 people who visit Wall Drug every day during the peak summer tourist season. And he argued that it’s a great place to start a new business—to find out why, watch on…

A special thank you to the Mayor for taking the time to speak with us, and to Carla Seybold of the Wall Chamber of Commerce for setting up the interview. You can watch the entire video travelogue series by following the links above or visiting youtube.com/xconomywest. Stay tuned for our final video from the road, coming tomorrow.

World Wide Wade Goes West is sponsored by Pixability.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • Jeannie Smith

    Really enjoyed the feature on Wall, SD.

  • http://www.annsmotel.us.com Ann Kitterman

    Enjoyed the video on Wall very good info, thanks to Dave. Great town

  • Jennifer Hahn

    Love the segment on Wall! Great Job David!!!

  • Dennis Madden

    Hey you just found one of the greatest little towns in the US. I grew up on a farm near by and went to school there in the 50′s. I can tell you it is made up of real Americans.
    Thanks for adding it to your video’s.