Thursday, October 8, 2015

Historic Wallace, Idaho

I've had a great couple of roadtrips this summer.  First, in late August, I drove east to South Dakota and visited my folks.  Then, in mid-September, I took a long weekend mini-vacation, visiting Lassen National Park, in Northern California, before heading home via the Cali and Oregon coast.  Oh, so many photos and stories, and sadly not enough time to keep my blog current!  (That darn job of mine keeps getting in the way!) next series of posts will be recaps from my South Dakota trip.  And then I'll tackle my Lassen adventure.  Annnddd.....I have one final big vacation planned for later this month that will take me away from blogland for a week or so.  But dear readers, be patient - I promise the photos and stories I eventually share will be well worth the wait!

Lovely old buildings line the main streets

My South Dakota trip started with departure in the midst of a huge rainstorm.  After battling pouring rain and nasty driving conditions through the Columbia River Gorge, I hit blowing dust, coupled with dense wildfire smoke in eastern Washington.  Then I passed through Idaho.  The smoke from nearby fires was so thick, visibility was a challenge.  And I had to close all the vents in my car - didn't want the interior smelling like a campfire!

The Fainting Goat - Love the name!

Knowing a lunch break was needed, I pulled off I-90 into Wallace, Idaho.  Although I'd stopped here many times on previous roadtrips east, my visits had been limited to brief gas and rest area ventures.  Friends had told me what a cute little town this was.  Traveling by myself, I decided now was a good time to check this place out!

Wonderful salad

My friends were so right!  Pulling into Wallace's main street, I was surrounded by amazing old buildings, most of them artfully restored.  I parked my car, and headed towards a tiny restaurant named "the Fainting Goat."  With a name like that, this place had to be good!

Empty sidewalk tables

Oh and it was!  Not only did I have a wonderful strawberry salad, I also experienced exceptional service from a friendly local woman.  When asking where the fire was burning, she replied there were fires all around the town.  The closest one happened to be a mere six miles away.  My waitress matter-of-factly stated she'd packed up her possessions that morning, fully prepared for an evacuation.

A bordello museum!!

After lunch, I exited the restaurant to strong wind gusts.  With so many fires nearby, I was a little tentative about staying much longer.  But the cool historic downtown district beckoned, and I ended up taking a short walk around, camera in hand.

Bordello backside

Wallace got its start as a mining town, men drawn by rich silver deposits in the nearby mountains.  After an 1890 fire burned most of the buildings, the town rebuilt with brick, some of these structures still standing to this day.  Another huge wildfire in 1910 again swept through the valley, destroying a third of Wallace's downtown.

Gorgeous train station

But over the years, this tiny village persevered, and has now restored and spruced up its historic buildings.  Instead of miners, it now attracts outdoor enthusiasts eager to recreate in the nearby mountains and streams.

More unusual buildings

Another fun fact about Wallace - every downtown building is on the National Register of Historic Places.  When I-90 was constructed in the early 1990's, this designation forced the freeway to be built on structure above the town, instead of winding through it.

Tour bus

I really enjoyed walking around Wallace, checking out the old buildings now converted into cute cafes, brewpubs, gift shops and boutiques.  They even preserved the old "house of ill repute" now converted into the Bordello Museum.  (Now that's something you don't see everyday!)

Souvenir shot

I loved the old train station, now housing a visitor information center.  The grounds were meticulously landscaped.  So wonderful to see this lovely old building restored to its full glory.

Old mining carts used as planters

I chuckled when I noticed old ore carts had been repurposed as flower planters along one of the main streets.  Definitely in character for this mining town!

You don't see business signs like this!

My stop in Wallace was a nice break from a long day of driving.  But after a pleasant half hour walk around, I knew it was time to hit the road.  Butte, Montana was my evening's destination, and I had many miles yet to travel.

But I'm glad I stopped and finally gave Wallace, Idaho a proper visit.


  1. It really is a beautifully restored place. Looks as if it would be worth a day or two.........Fires permitting.

  2. Wallace looks like a wonderful little town. Love the atmosphere you shined on it!

  3. Excelente trabalho gostei de ver.
    Um abraço e bom fim de semana.

  4. A lovely town to wander around. very interesting buildings adn I love the flowers in that old truck. That sald looks fairly substantial and I would love it.

  5. I think we will have big trips at the same time this year, as I am too leaving blogland for a while at the end of this month. Loved your shots from Wallace. It's a quaint and atmospheric town with lots of charm, that surely warrants a visit.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  6. Looks like a lovely town for a lunch break.

  7. What a great town! It's great that all the buildings have been preserved and that the town has prospered despite the loss of the mining. It reminds me of Virginia City, Nevada.

  8. We've passed Wallace by from the freeway...looks like a worthwhile stop!

    Love the restaurant name! We have a Smoking Goat restaurant in San Diego.

  9. It does look like a really interesting little town.

  10. Nice photojournalism - lovely natural colors

  11. Some towns seem to be able to keep their old buildings and use them wisely. This was a nice tour of Wallace.

  12. Linda, what a delightful, beautiful town! I love to see nature photos, as you know, but I also love vintage and seeing store fronts, restaurants and buildings, too! I love your photos! The salad looks delicious, too. :)

  13. GREAT train station! It has so much character. And that salad! Suddenly I'm craving something just like it!

  14. My bucket list keeps expanding, WALACE LOOKS BEAUTIFUL!

  15. Nice old historic town. I would love to visit that gem and mineral shop!

  16. I know very little about South Dakota apart from a few films set there so thanks for an interesting visit around town. I have heard of fainting goats in the USA though as they are a unique breed that keel over when they perceive danger and play dead for a few minutes then recover again. Probably get them on You Tube under Fainting Goats.

  17. Thanks for sharing such a great post about a town I'd never heard of.It looks so clean there.

  18. Looks like a great place to visit! Sounds like you have had a number of adventures...good for you! :)

  19. Now this is my kind of town...great architecture!

  20. Hello Linda, I enjoyed this tour of Wallace Idaho. Those fires sounded scary and so close to the town. The trainstation is pretty. Great collection of photos! Have a happy weekend!

  21. Wallace looks so picturesque. I'm trying to figure out if we've been there, but I don't think so. How beautiful! I look forward to your S. Dakota pics and Lassen park, which is a place on our to-visit list.

  22. Gosh, it wounds like Wallace has had bad luck with fires in the past. I hope the fire was controlled this time. Really enjoyed the shots of your visit.

  23. That is a cute town! Love the old station!

  24. Interesting looking place - that work thing keeps getting in the way of my blogging too!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  25. I have been by Wallace so many times and now I really need to stop! I also cannot believe we have a SD connection as I was also born and raised in SD! Small world!

  26. What a great old town. There's a similar museum in nearby Cripple Creek but I haven't found time to visit it yet.

  27. Your photos made Wallace seem like a really fun place to visit. I liked the sign on the Fainting Goat. - Sadly the only memory of Wallace I have is when my hubby got a speeding ticket there. I had just bought a new Ford Escort in what they called (Cayman Green) at that time. It was a new car color so when the officer came over he asked us, "What color is this car, I wrote down, Green." I almost told him it was, Purple.
    Perhaps if I'm ever through there again I'll stop and check out the sights.


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