Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Great Northern Redneck Adventure–Chapter 4– The Historic Town of Wallace

After a short trip on I-90 (had I looked closer at my map, we could have instead taken Silver Valley Rd instead), we popped back off in the historic town of Wallace.

The town of Wallace is rather unique compared to it’s neighbors. For one, it actually has a population limit, two, it was used in the movie “Dante’s Peak” as the town below the volcano, and three the whole downtown is on the national historic places register.

Other interesting little historical tidbits about the town is that until the viaduct was built, Wallace was the last stoplight on an major US Interstate in the country.

Also, on September 25, 2004, Mayor Ron Garitone proclaimed Wallace to be the center of the Universe Smile with tongue out.

As seen here in this photo:


Downtown Wallace is chock-a-block full of historic buildings from the 1950s and earlier, a good number being Antique stores, intermixed with some other businesses (one did antique radios and components), and restaurants.



I visited more than a few of the antique stores myself, one of my favorite items I discovered was the old hotel calendars Winking smile.


One thing you’ll find more than one of in the town of Wallace are museums. The one that caught my attention the most and made me laugh a bit was the Oasis Bordello Museum.


Sadly, while open daily, they weren’t open when we were visiting town.

Even with the smorgasbord of museums, neat shops, and various knickknacks, my favorite destination was the historic and beautiful old Wallace Railroad Depot Smile.


The station is a remnant of when the Union Pacific Railroad and it’s predecessors used to run rail service through town. The Train Station itself, is now a museum, and actually isn’t even in it’s original spot.

It was moved 200ft from it’s original location when the final portion of I-90 was built during the early 90s to prevent it’s demolition as the viaduct was constructed.

In it’s hayday, the station served as the hub of two railroads, the UP (then known as the Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation Co) and the Northern Pacific. Rail service in the area ceased in 1992 and the tracks were torn up, ironically, roughly a year after I-90’s construction was finally completed.

Two dollars gets you inside the door if you’re an adult, and shy of the winter, they’re open most of the year.

The building is crammed to the rafters full of railroad nostalgia, every room has another hunk of history of railroading in the area and railroading itself.

One of the first things you encounter when you enter the museum is an HO scale model of some of the town of Wallace and the railroad grades through the area.


As you continue to move, each room or area of a room will be a scene or artifact from the long bygone era of rail travel.







The history of the moving of the Depot is even on display here:



Sadly, before too long the day was beginning to grow short and the shops and the museums were all closing up and we found it was time to say our goodbyes to the little town of Wallace and turn back west to Enaville, to revisit my all-time favorite place to dine, the Snakepit.


  1. Nice job. Know the place well. Used to work in that area. Friend of mine grew up there and the "Ladies of the Night" paid for the high school football uniforms. They were real corporate citizens and worked there until only a short tiome ago.

    1. Yeah, I remember reading an article about the last one who was still working Oasis before it finally closed down and became the museum.