Wallace, Idaho

Wallace, ID lies about 45 minutes east of Coeur d’Alene. The entire town is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. This old-school mining town contains a variety of shops, eateries, museums, and other interesting places. The Visitor Center grounds contains a variety of mining equipment on display. Wallace offers a nice place to take a break whether you want to make a quick stop or or spend some time exploring.

Center of the Universe

On September 25, 2004, Mayor Ron Garitone proclaimed Wallace as the Center Of The Universe. A manhole manhole cover in the middle of the intersection of 6th and Bank mark the actual center. Around 2002 the town got into a battle with EPA. A debate started about the safety of the soil in town due to the amount of lead sulfide it contained. The town argued that since there were no ill health effects that the soil was safe. The EPA took the position that the soil must be unsafe since it could not prove that the soil was safe. Using the same logic the town declared itself to be the Center of Universe since it could not be proven to NOT be the center.


Trails abound in the Wallace area. The Hiawatha Trail beings at Lookout Pass and continues for 15 miles over the abandoned Milwaukee Railroad grade, through the town of Taft, and past the north fork of the St. Joe River. The trail includes ten tunnels, seven trestles, and 49 historical and interpretive signs. The 73-mile Hall of Fame trail starts at Mullan or Wallace. Wallace has an impressive set of stairs that ascends from the street to the hillside homes. Over 800 stairs ascend the equivalent of a 46-story building. The stairs start just a block or so away from the Center of the Universe.

Other Stuff

Wallace contains many restaurants, cafes, shops, and museums. I’ve only tried two restaurants and I enjoyed both of them. The Red Light Garage is a fun eclectic place located on Pine and 5th. Just look for the flying saucer in the parking lot and all of the antiques and interesting items within. The Blackboard Cafe on Cedar and 6th contains a shop, book store, and cafe. They make very good sandwiches and milk shakes. I also heard that Muchachoes Tacos is very good and perhaps I will try them the next time I visit.


Wallace caters to tourists. Before visiting Wallace check their website for special events. They have the Retro Christmas Festival, Huckleberry Festival, car shows, Statehood Parade, Gyro Days, Blues Festival, and others. Even when nothing special is going on Wallace is a special place worth visiting.

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