June 24th, the town of Wallace Idaho, will have a celebration for the founder of Wallace. Jamie Baker, is the organizer of Wallace returning to Wallace event" He is a former Westerner and owner of the Red Light Garage Restaurant in Wallace. This trip is sold out, but if you are one of the lucky ones Inland Empire Tours will be picking up at 7:45 am at the Grocery Outlet, 1617 West 3rd Ave and 8:00 am at Argonne & Mission parking lot. (509) 747-1335
The next eight paragraphs are copied from the website www.wallacefoundersday.com/about-us
“We are trying to organize the biggest parade in town since Teddy Roosevelt was here in 1903,” event organizer Jamie Baker said.
How Wallace’s misbegotten tombstone has arrived in the community bearing his name is as quirky a story as the town itself-- the only city in America entirely listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to some of the richest silver mines on the planet.
Col. William Ross Wallace purchased land where the town now sits in the 1880s. Unbeknownst to him the cash he used was counterfeit. After the funny money was discovered, the then Mayor Wallace left town under a cloud of suspicion. Fast forward to today and the community seeks to redeem Col. Wallace’s reputation in addition to his grave marker.
A decorated civil war Colonel in command of the Second Kentucky Calvary, Wallace was wounded twice in action and served under noted Union General William Rosencrans. After the war Wallace sought his fortune in mining camps across the continent, including the then bustling area of 1880s North Idaho.
Wallace died in 1901 in Whittier, Calif., but he didn’t stop moving. Years after he was buried in a local cemetery, the town of Whittier turned the grounds into a city park, removing “some” of the bodies and stacking tombstones several feet deep on city property.
And there the tombstone lay for decades, forgotten until Spokane researchers Tony Bamonte and Chuck tracked it down in 2016. Sort of. Bamonte and King discovered that the town of Whittier had given the grave marker, along with four truckloads of tombstones to Acton, California collector extraordinaire Dale Bybee.
For his part Bybee had Wallace’s tombstone planted in a “memorial” cemetery, with which he was also trying to use to block state of California plans to build a high speed rail line across his Acton estate. The memorial cemetery ruse failed when CalTrans discovered the “sacred” grounds were less than a year old, and had no bodies -- just markers. But Bybee’s loss was Wallace’s gain.
Bamonte and King contacted their pal -- noted collector, Wallace restaurant owner and hotelier Jamie Baker. After a bit of horse-trading with Bybee, Baker and local businessman Forest Van Dorn were able to acquire the tombstone and bring it back to Wallace. It now temporarily resides outside the awning of Baker’s downtown Wallace office. That is until June’s festivities.
Click on Nostalgia image above to see new video.
Civilian Conservation Corps
Jamie Baker at the Red Light Garage
C. C. C. North Idaho
July 20th the Inland Empire Tours will be visiting sites of the Civilian Conservation Corps in North Idaho. We will be picking up at 7:45 am at the Grocery Outlet, 1617 West 3rd Ave and 8:00 am at Argonne & Mission parking lot in Spokane. Please contact us soon because this tour is already 1/3 full.
To order your copy of "Historic Wallace, Idaho" click on this website. http://www.tornadocreekpublications.com
Upper images are courtesy of the Northwest Room . The lower images are courtesy of the Inland Empire Tours Collection and the video from the Nostalgia Magazine Collection.