In the Bitterroot Mountains and the county seat of Shoshone County, Idaho, Wallace, Idaho, was initially established as a mining community in the Idaho Panhandle. Set up in 1884, Wallace sits snugly between the South Fork of the pristine waters of Coeur d'Alene River alongside what is now (Interstate 90). The town's population soared to high's nearing 4,000 in 1940 and settled to around 784 residents nearly a hundred years later.
Traveling to the area from the neighboring state of Montana (along Interstate 90), travelers might take notice of the significant presence of homes dotted across the Bitterroot mountainside. These extraordinary mountain homes and its surroundings experience four distinct seasons, including a dazzling snowy winter. Continuing past the West Mulan district and Compressor District into the Columbia Golconda district exit 64, travelers may become aware of the greenbelt area adjacent to this portion of the highway.
Exploring the city center may be described as, what it might be like to travel back in time, with reminders of the days past witnessed throughout the streets of downtown. Traveling back in time within the city might be like turning back the time to the late 1880s when steam-powered locomotives would power across the railroad tracks with the sounds of miners' machinery echoing across the valley, horse-drawn carriages making way throughout the town, early electric cars horns beeping at passerbyers, and people enjoying downtown shops and local diners. Trekking along the city streets bears the remnants of original business signage, colorful murals decorating historic structures and buildings, classic architecture, and unique access points of access and entryways. Discover neat historic shops with hordes of gadgets, knickknacks, collectibles, antiques, souvenirs, gifts, trinkets, toys, music, posters, art, books, black and white photographs, machinery, and jewelry. Visitors will find a community founded on perseverance for excellence when traveling across this significant territory. Many of the residents agreed with Mayor Ron Garitone, who prescribed Wallace to be the center of the Universe.
What makes traveling to the center of the Universe unique? Well, for starters, good eats, great people, unique shops, and tons of exciting places to go. When folks enter the town, the charming community greets visitors with a conglomeration of pubs, grills & eateries, art galleries, tattoo parlors, boutiques, cafes, gift and antique shops, places to stop for ice cream, and nearly anything one might imagine a neat historic town might have, though do not be fooled the city has way more to offer than what first appearances might convey. This fascinating town boasts a gold mine of hidden treasures, including phenomenal trails, self-guided tour opportunities, mining tours, recreational opportunities to keep folks energized and ready for the next adventure.
Find a local chamber of commerce within the parking lot at the park located alongside the highway exit. The park offers visitors and locals alike the opportunity to take a break and enjoy historical artifacts as a part of the mining heritage exhibition and fireman memorial. Grab the camera, take in the information, and go to check out the neat historic buildings of downtown Wallace.
Historic structures are fascinating parts of visiting a city that has not much changed in the last century. Trekking along city sidewalks reveals a slew of original structures. Many of the building's accents and foundational designs drew inspiration from affluent architects such as I.J. Galbraith and G.A. Pearson. Popular styles included Art Deco and Classical Revival. Many of these structures are in use to this very day. For instance, the hardware company building, constructed in 1913 today boasts a pizza parlor, brewery, and grill. Additional downtown structures include the Herrington Building, Shoshone Building, Brooks Hotel, Hall Hotel, Wallace Corner Hotel, Idaho Building, and the Insurance Building. Each of the buildings exudes quite a bit of charm, whether it be architecture, artistic murals, original windows and furniture, iron accents, and historical plaques, and more. The First National Bank of Wallace was changed to the 1st National Bank of North Idaho chartered in 1892 and sits alongside the Insurance Building that's now home to a few shops and an eatery. The arment building, built-in the early 1900s and situated at the corner of Cedar street and 6th street, welcomes visitors to what is now a grill packed with delicious smells of good eats and friendly welcomes. Across the street sits the civic center building home to a market, bookstore, coffee shop, mountain wear, and clothing stores. The various types of stores may change over time, though what makes this city one to remember is its unique and vibrant culture that creates a buzz throughout town.
The folks that enjoy calling Wallace, Idaho, have plentiful opportunities surrounding them. The entire town has registered the local structures on the national historic register, a remarkable feat. The town's history combined with brilliant features creates an atmosphere that keeps visitors coming back to learn more about what makes it intricately appealing and enjoyable. Take a moment to converse with a local, and they might share stories of fishing the river, hiking the mountain trails, renovating their home, ziplines tours, wine tours, and preparing for winter events like the 2020 Wallace Winter skijor and countless memories that make a living in this mountain city an invaluable place to live for the residents as there is no way to replace the uniqueness of all that Wallace has to offer.
Be sure to set aside time to check out the Northern Pacific Railroad Depot Museum built-in 1901. The museum boasts information about the intricacies and hardships of establishing the railroad and the various facets to a day in the life of workers that managed and maintain the railroad. A few of the respective titles include the superintendent, engineer, pointsman, porter, ticket controller, train dispatcher, freight controller, and master. The bridge inspector, track inspector, and station agent played a significant role in ensuring continuous success in operations.
Wallace has earned the reputation of being a mountain city worth repeat visits, each visit unveiling a new layer of wonder and delightful surprises. Grab a map and take a self-guided home tour while driving along the city streets and enjoy an excellent combination of architectural styles, accents, and added fine details to each home. Exploring area parks, downtown streets, and the infinite details scattered across town within the area homes becomes a fascinating experience of architecturally significant design that varies in style. Commercial, Neo-classical Revival, Second Renaissance Revival, and art deco are displayed in many of the house styles the first European settlers brought to North America. The local historic preservation plan offers a well-organized outline for continued success and preservation of existing structures.