Natural beauty meets rich history
Step back in time and soak up the charm of Wallace's historic downtown district.
Photo by MOLLY ROBERTS
Staff Reporter | March 17, 2023 5:10 AM
WALLACE — The "Center of the Universe," Wallace, was recently named one of the 20 most beautiful small towns in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine.
“What makes a town beautiful? The answer is naturally subjective,” the article explained. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of the one visiting the town, and the Silver Valley certainly has its share of unique beauty, from mountainous landscapes to hidden lakes and quaint towns that all have something to offer.
Much like the surrounding Silver Valley, Wallace has a rich and colorful history. However, when it comes to Wallace, many people can take one step into the town and see and feel that it’s a little different than many of its neighbors. The article explains that Wallace packs a big historical punch for a city of its size, with a population of around 808, compared to Shoshone County’s largest town, Kellogg, which has nearly three times that amount with 2,374.
In 1979, the small town was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, designated as a part of a highway revolt that prevented Interstate 90 from being built, which would have destroyed the center of the town, which includes some incredible Classical Revival, Renaissance Revival and Late Victorian architecture. Because of the Wallace Historic District, certain buildings and structures in the town are deemed worthy of preservation. Due to their historical significance and artistic value, they can only be changed or remodeled with approval.
“I love how small the town is,” said Silver Valley local and Wallace business owner Brady Bourgard. “The population is great. And besides that, it’s in a position where it can’t really grow much larger.”
Bourgard owns The North Idaho Trading Company, a shop just as unconventional and unusual as the town it’s in — with curiosities such as a human skeleton, a 6-foot "mermaid" mummy, a display case of skulls, and several other general antiques and fun finds.
“Wallace just has a charm,” Bourgard said. “It’s sort of hard to put your finger on, but the people of Wallace are a little more laid back. Live and let live.”
To read more about the 20 most beautiful small towns in the U.S., visit https://www.travelandleisure.com/.