Wallace, Idaho is a town that enjoys a good time, so when the Historic Wallace Chamber of Commerce was approached in early 2011 about holding an Accordion Festival that summer, the Chamber leadership said "you bet!"
An Accordion Festival fit perfectly into the town's growing list of summer events which also includes its Depot Day in May; Street Fair in June; Gyro Days, Statehood Day Parade, Silver Spokes Bike Event and ATV Jamboree, all in July, Huckleberry Festival in August and Under the Freeway Flea Market in September. The Accordion Festival proved a perfect fit for this historic town, and we now look forward to welcoming musicians and fans back for the 3rd annual event on August 9-11, 2013.
But first, a little about our historic town. A true old West mining town that still prospers today, Wallace traces its roots back to 1884 when early residents were drawn here by the rich deposits of silver, gold and other metals in the surrounding mountains. By 1887 downtown businesses were established and the railroad came to town. In 1890 most of the wooden buildings in downtown burned and were replaced by brick buildings, most of which still stand today. Ten years later in 1910, the largest forest fire in U.S. history swept through much of the nearby Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana and eventually destroyed a third of downtown Wallace.
Wallace had several brushes with fame. Teddy Roosevelt visited Wallace in 1903. Movie actress Lana Turner was born here. Movies, including "Heaven's Gate" and "Dante's Peak" were filmed against the background of Wallace and the surrounding forests.
Today, the town continues to prosper with mining and tourism as its main industries. The town and nearby area offer visitors a variety of cultural, recreational and historic opportunities. Three museums, the Sierra Silver Mine Tour, seven antique shops, two breweries, unique gift shops, a variety of restaurants and various lodging options await visitors. The town is located adjacent to the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene bike path and within a 20-minute drive of the Route of the Hiawatha, a biking experience that includes numerous tunnels and tressels. Visitors can enjoy a walk up the Pulaski (1910 Fire Interpretive) Trail, spend a night of theatrical amusement at the Sixth Street Melodrama and, starting this summer, can try their hand at ziplining across the mountainside.
Wallace truly has something to offer everyone. The entire town of Wallace is on the National Register of Historic Places. And, did we mention, a river runs through it?
It's no wonder Wallace has humbly declared itself the "center of the universe," and the exact spot is marked at the intersection of 6th and Bank Streets.