Random Facts about Wallace, Idaho

Wallace, Idaho is located in the northern part of the state, where silver is king and the autumn leaves provide a colorful gift from Mother Nature. Historic Wallace has been on the local, regional, state and national map since 1884 and has survived the largest fire in North America, labor strife, train hijackings, illegal bordellos and gambling. Surrounded by towering mountains, thick with pines and huckleberry bushes and crisscrossed with trails waiting to be explored. Wallace’s warm and friendly residents proudly welcome folks to its historic silver mining town, where visitors will relish in the mountain setting, its historic past, and wonderful stone architecture.

Wallace, ID in October

Here are five things even the locals may not know about Wallace:

1) Silver Capital of the World — More silver has been mined in the Silver Valley; the Coeur d’Alene Mining District (Wallace area), than any other mining place in the world. Billions of ounces of silver and tons of lead, zinc, copper have come from this region. At the turn of the 20th Century, with the Industrial Age in full force, and the onset of two World Wars,  the Federal Government actually nationalize the area mines due to the vital needs surrounding the war efforts.

Silver Mine in Wallace Idaho

2) Hub for the nation’s largest wildfire — Otherwise known as the Big Burn of 1910, this massive fire burned over 3 million acres of northwest woods in just 2 weeks, 880,000 of those acres in North Idaho alone in 3 days. The thunderous holocaust rolled through the Bitterroot Mountains, reaching speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. Lives were lost, towns decimated with Wallace being the last bastion in the ill-fated fight against the fire.

3) Brick and stone was the norm — In the late 1800s Wallace decided that to be unique in its own right and not be a boom & bust mining town, the downtown business sector was built out of brick, stone and masonry instead of wood. Wallace wanted to be seen as a town that would outlive the ages, attracting mine companies and other businesses to plant their headquarters in the northern Idaho town. This building strategy proved very helpful during the Big Burn fire, as Wallace maintains its classic architectural integrity to this day.  Historic Wallace would eventually be listed (in its entirety) on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wallace ID stone buildings

4) Wallace stands up to Feds — Using its own rules of engagement (EPA Impact Statement) against them, Wallace fought the Federal Government on the placement of I-90, eventually having it pushed up, and back out of town.  Since every building in town is on the National Register of Historic Places, the Feds were unable to build the Interstate through town. Historic Wallace was the last and only stop light on Interstate 90 between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

5) Center of the Universe — Wallace has the pure and unabated distinction of being the probabilistic Center of the Universe. It was determined just over 10 years ago in a local pub (that used to be the county courthouse) that at approximately 1am, Wallace was in fact determined to be the Center of the Universe. How you ask? Probabilistically speaking, due to the fact that no one could disprove it, thus making it so.

Center of the Universe in Wallace Idaho

If you know of some other interesting facts about Wallace, Idaho, please leave a comment below. Click the following link to read about other Random Factoid Friday destinations.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


  1. There is trail commemorating Mr. Pulaski’s bravery in Wallace that is a must do. The trail is about 4 miles round trip and has excerpts from his journal. He saved so many lives! The trail also has replica’s of the “pulaski” a fire fighting tool he invented that is still in use today. Its a beautiful hike and so interesting!

    1. Hi Karen…thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. I’m sure readers will enjoy the additional information on Wallace. All the best, Mike

  2. I enjoyed your Random Facts from the road.

    I was wondering if you have Facts for Casper Wy


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