To see more photos from this location, click on the link below:
This historic mining town was born after Colonel W.R. Wallace purchased and developed 80 acres of land, with rich deposits of silver and gold in 1884.
Wallace became the largest producer of silver ,with 1.2 billion ounces of silver produced since 1884, earning the name "Silver Capital of the World".
Wallace was a typical mining town with saloons ,gambling and bordellos.
To many people it was a way of life. They believed that the "cat houses" , the name the towns people gave to the bordellos, kept the streets safe, brought business into town and served as an outlet for the miners relief. Some even went as far as to say, that the bordellos saved marriages. The madams gave donations to support children and families in need. They helped buy the scoreboard for a high school football team, and uniforms for the high school band.
The most well known madam was Dolores Arnold aka Mary Giacolone aka Maria Greer. Some say that the people would only elect city leaders, who allowed the prostitution industry to go on.But 1991 saw the end of the bordellos.
Sadly, as many old mining towns, Wallace had devastating fires, that destroyed most of the downtown buildings ; the 1890 fire and the 1910 fire called "the Big Burn", the largest U.S. forest fire in the history claiming several lives and 3 million acres.
In addition to fires,floods and labor strifes, several blocks in Wallace were almost destroyed due to the Federal Highway Administration's Plans to run I-90 through the city.
Thanks to the efforts of a community activist Harry F. Magnuson, the entire downtown of Wallace was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1979, forcing the highway to be built over the city .
Today Wallace is a tourist town. Due to its location between 2 ski areas, and having Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and the Hiawatha trail go through the city, many people stop and spend the night in one of the great little hotels in town.
Wallace is also a site for 3 movies; Dante's Peak,Tornado and Heaven's Gate.
You can find 3 great museums in Wallace: The Mining Museum, The Northern Pacific Railroad Museum and the Oasis Bordello Museum. You can also take a trolley tour up to the Sierra Silver Mine or just wander through the many great antique stores in town.
Due to the deep history in Wallace, there are several haunted locations in town; The Ryan Hotel, The Jameson Hotel, The Brooks Hotel and The Corner Hotel to name a few. The Ryan Hotel and the Brooks Hotel are the only ones of the 4 operating currently. Look for a separate post of the Ryan and the Jameson Hotels shortly.
Wallace has a lot to offer to young and old. Make it a stop on your next road trip over to Idaho