Historic Wallace Idaho

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THE HARRY F. MAGNUSON WAY

Altho gentle rain kept attendance down on the 25th Depot Day, spirits were up at the road dedication ceremony to honor the man who made this festival possible.

Harry told the federal and state government It's my way or the highway! ... And he didn't let up until it was HIS WAY and not the highway! Harry made I-90 go over us and not through us.

This plaque honors Harry F. Magnuson and his leadership in the battle from 1970 to 1986 to save the Town of Wallace from destruction at the hands of State and Federal highway officials. Born in Wallace in 1923, Harry became a legendary business leader and philanthropist in the Northwest and beyond who never forgot his roots in his beloved hometown.

The Federal Highway Administration and the Idaho Transportation Department planned to route Interstate 90 directly through the center of Wallace. Slated for the wrecking ball were blocks of historic buildings, including the iconic Northern Pacific Railroad Depot, that linked the Town to its storied past.

Harry Magnuson sued the FHA and ITD, alleging that they had failed to file an Environmental Impact Statement. A Federal judged concurred, entered an injunction, and halted the imminent bulldozers.

Harry [together with Nancy Lee Hansen] secured placement of the entire Town of Wallace on the National Register of Historic Places, creating insurmountable roadblocks in the agencies' paths.

The stoplight at the corner of 7th and Bank Streets, the last on I-90 between Seattle and Boston, became a stirring national symbol of Wallace's fight for survival.

As a result of Harry's efforts, a compromise was struck, preserving Historic Wallace. A new overhead freeway was designed to bypass the Town. The Depot was moved across the South Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River to its new location on 6th Street.

The battle won, the Townspeople conducted a ceremonial funeral for the storied stoplight in 1991. Media from around the world reported the event. Charles Kuralt of CBS News wanted to know how a town of 1,000 people could stand up to the Federal government. The answer was “Harry.”

Historic Wallace is Harry Magnuson's legacy to the Town he loved so deeply. Without his efforts, the elegant historic district you see today would be nothing more than four lanes of concrete. With this in mind, a grateful citizenry has dedicated the original routing of I-90 through Wallace as "The Harry F. Magnuson Way."

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Dates indicate when the content or structure of a page was last modified.
Wallace History
June 06, 2003
Modern Wallace
October 10, 2008
Recreational Opportunities
January 27, 2011
Photo Album
December 29, 2003
Wallace Business
July 20, 2014
Relocation Information
April 02, 2012
Wallace Homepage
July 30, 2014
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January 15, 2014
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July 30, 2014
This Magnuson Way page was extracted from depotday10_winners.html on May 20, 2011.

 

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Wallace is at the center of a universe filled with mountain recreation and Old West history that you will want to visit more than once. Please tell me what you would like to see on this and other pages at my Historic Wallace Idaho webworks.
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