I live for exploring and coming across unconventional and unusual places. As soon as I exited highway 90 into the small town of Wallace I knew it was going to be a good day.
The vintage Stardust Motel ✨ sign and kitschy spaceship greeted me along with a large chrome paneled red bus that is the Slab Meat Company BBQ.
I walked into the North Idaho Trading Company and the interior reminded me of a real life “Mystery Shack” (if you have ever seen the cartoon series “Gravity Falls”) but it’s free to visit and the prices are reasonable!
I was expecting an “uncle Stan” character and then I saw a young guy behind the register.
I poked around for awhile, taking pictures and soaked in all of the quirk, items such as “The World’s Smallest Book”, “Teeny Tiny Chamber Pot” and the “Vampire Hunting Kit”.
I picked up an “I saw the Mummified Mermaid” T-shirt and started my usual awkward, extroverted conversation. The shop clerk was the owner, Brady Bourgard. He told me his uncle Rick Asher originally owned the antique shop and it opened in 1983. Brady’s mother and grandmother had worked at the shop and Brady was also an hourly employee at one point. Brady purchased the shop when his uncle retired in 2018, and added some curiosities such as a human skeleton, a 6ft mermaid mummy, a whale “thing”, a skull display case and other oddities.
The shop has multiple rooms that are filled from top to bottom. I asked Brady “how large is the shop and how many items are in it ?” He replied, “I’m not sure about the square footage? It feels huge and too small at the same time. Counting the items in this store would probably take a year off of my life but there’s a lot. The shop opened in 1983 and has been buying every day since.”
I asked Brady what is the strangest thing he has ever purchased (and I was happy I did ask because I was pleased with his answer). He replied, “The strangest thing I’ve purchased was a locals teeth (the bartender was telling another patron that I would purchase dental gold, and this gentleman misunderstood and showed up with a handful of his molars). Of course I bought them, and have since gained a reputation for buying teeth (I pay extra for cavities or abnormalities!) and have a jar of them in my apartment that I’ve bought from locals. The list of crazy things sold would be lengthy but a few of the highlights would be a 100+ year old prison uniform (purchased from the grandson of the man who had escaped from Montana prison), a deeded gold-mine and a taxidermy full-body African Lion.”
I’m already planning another visit to Wallace. It’s a small town with a population of just under 800 people but it has loads of character. It’s in between Spokane, WA and Missoula, MT. It’s about 25 miles east of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Wallace is known as a silver mining town and has an interesting history and it deserves it’s own blog post. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful biking trails in the country.
Cheers to another long, weird day!