Wallace residents planning parade to celebrate return of founder's tombstone

KREM 2's Taylor Viydo went to Wallace, Idaho to check in on the biggest parade the city has seen in years

WALLACE, Idaho —  The city of Wallace, Idaho is hosting a Founder's Day parade through town, Saturday, all for a tombstone.

The tombstone belongs to William Wallace, the man who founded the city around 130 years ago.  His tombstone was brought back to Idaho from where he was buried in California.

The grave marker is a favorite artifact of members of the town.  It resembles a piece of history that local restaurant owner, Jamie Baker, really enjoys.

His favorite piece of Wallace history is the tombstone, an artifact that was given posthumously to Wallace's namesake.

"It's his presence here," Baker said.  

Wallace was a civil war veteran who founded the city of Wallace in the 1880’s in an effort to make money in the mining business.

Fortune would see Wallace later leave North Idaho and eventually settle down in Whittier, California.

"And in 1901 he died there,” Baker said.   

His tombstone was then created for the late civil war colonel.

Fast forward to the 1960's when city leaders in California decided to turn the graveyard he was buried in into a park.  Wallace's body wasn't claimed by relatives, so his tombstone and thousands of others were moved and stored elsewhere in the city.  Eventually, a collector in California acquired several of those grave markers.

"One of those tombstones was William Wallace's,” Baker said. 

Over the last few years, a local historian went about trying to track down Wallace's tombstone and he was able to acquire it from the collector in California.

Baker was the one to pick up the tombstone.  As a result, he thought the story deserved a celebration.

"What an opportunity for Wallace to bring the history full circle,” Shauna Hillman from the North Pacific Railroad Depot Museum said.

Now, the Founder's Day parade is planned for Saturday celebrating Colonel Wallace’s return after 126 years.

Accompanying the gravestone during the parade are civil war re-enactors.

"We've got a cannon set up down at the Depot that we're going to fire to get the show on the road,” Alan Williams, Civil War Actor, said.

There will also be marching bands and dignitaries in the parade.

While his body is somewhere in a California city park, his tombstone is in Wallace, Idaho thanks to passionate locals who live where he once walked.

“I think that William Wallace will be proud that he's back up here,” Baker said.

The Wallace Founders day parade starts Saturday at 1 p.m. along with a dedication ceremony at the historic railway depot following at 3:30.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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