History

Time jumps ahead an hour about 12 miles east of the Jameson Hotel in Wallace, where every minute is a celebration of the area’s sparkling history.

The entire city is included in the National Historic Register. Built in the heart of a rich silver mining district, Wallace has weathered the boom and bust periods of an economy tied to precious metals.

Hoping to turn the tide, businesses in 1994 replaced city streets, curbs and lights and have embarked on a campaign to highlight outdoor recreation and downtown sights.

The Jameson was built at 304 Sixth St. in 1907 by Theodore Jameson. It replaced a wooden structure that – together with the entire downtown – was destroyed by fire in 1890.

The building, of painted concrete block, is actually two separate units that function as one. The hotel’s saloon, dining room and six guest rooms were renovated in 1979 to mimic the trappings of the city’s heydey in the late 19th century.

While the exterior is somewhat weathered, comfortable booths line the walls inside the airy saloon, which is decorated with period posters and fixtures. The moderately priced menu has a little bit of everything including beef, chicken, fish and pasta and also offers children’s fare. Meals are served in both the bar and adjacent restaurant.

The third floor guest rooms – accessible only by some rather steep stairs – also are reminiscent of the late Victorian period and feature quaint, floral wallpaper, large wooden armoires and comfortable double beds. (There is one room with two single beds.)

Guests share two bath and shower rooms and two other rooms, each with a toilet with sink. There is also a communal parlour.

In the vicinity is an extensive network of snowmobiling trails – Wallace recently passed an ordinance to allow the sleds on city streets – and winter visitors can ski at neighboring Lookout Pass and Silver Mountain.

Tours of the Sierra Silver Mine and the Northern Pacific Depot Railroad Museum, another gem, are possible too.

A casual and friendly attitude characterizes Wallace and the Jameson. It’s a pleasant place to hide away and just an hour’s drive from Spokane on Interstate 90. For reservations, call (208) 556-5730.