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Then and Now

Flame and RuinSPECIAL SERIES: The fires of 1910

Then & Now: The fires of 1910

The great fires of 1910 left Wallace and other North Idaho sites scarred and ruined, and historic photos from the University of Idaho and U.S. Forest Service document the devastation. Spokesman-Review photographer Christopher Anderson revisited the historic town and surrounding areas in July 2010, capturing a century’s worth of regrowth.


Above Wallace
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Image One Barnard Stockbridge Collection University of Idaho Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

The east end of Wallace, Idaho, lies in ruins after the great fire of 1910 swept through, destroying homes and businesses. Today, Interstate 90 runs through the historic mining town, and trees cover the surrounding hills once more.


Railroad to interstate
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Image One U.S. Forest Service Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

Railroad tracks are seen amid the destruction of Wallace in 1910. Interstate 90 now runs where the tracks once cut through the town.


Scorched earth
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Image One Barnard Stockbridge Collection University of Idaho Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

Residents of Wallace search the east end of town after the great fire passed through. Today, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and Interstate 90 run along a backdrop of tree-lined hills.


Wallace’s main street
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Image One U.S. Forest Service Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

A view down the main street of Wallace shows the destruction of the great fire. The view today shows a town reborn.


Street level
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Image One Barnard Stockbridge Collection University of Idaho Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

Wallace residents take in the toll of the 1910 fire on the east end of town. The dirt streets have since been paved and burned structures rebuilt.


Rubble
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Image One Barnard Stockbridge Collection University of Idaho Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

The post-fire rubble holds artifacts of Wallace life in 1910, long since cleared away.


Pulaski’s tunnel
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Image One U.S. Forest Service Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

The tunnel that ranger Ed Pulaski sheltered his crew in to protect them from the flames of 1910 was rediscovered years later. Today, the site is marked by framing timbers built to replicate the scene after the burn. A two-mile trail leads from Wallace to the tunnel.


Matchsticks
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Image One U.S. Forest Service Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

In 1910, gale-force winds blew down timber that didn’t burn. Today, cyclists ride across a trestle on the Route of the Hiawathas on the Idaho-Montana border. The popular summer ride takes cyclists through the middle of the 1910 burn area.


In memory
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Image One U.S. Forest Service Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

The graves of more than two dozen firefighters who died in the 1910 fire stand in a circle around a flag in the St. Maries, Idaho, cemetery. The memorial endures today.


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