The Real Story Behind Wallace Idaho’s “Center of the Universe” Attraction
We know that Idaho is amazing, but is it really the center of the universe? It very well may be, at least according to Wallace, Idaho. In 2004 Ron Garitone was the mayor of Wallace in Northern Idaho, not too far from Coeur D'Alene.
The Fact File website says, "A mayor seemed to have a strange adoration for his small town in Idaho. He declared that Wallace, with a population of 800 people, was the Center of the Universe. A manhole cover was made to mark this declaration and the place he said was the center."
Well a strange adoration is not quite how the story goes. Of course the Mayor loved Wallace, what's not to love, but that is not what started the center of the universe campaign.
According to mentalfloss.com, "The residents of Wallace and other communities in the region had been battling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 2002 over the safety of the region’s soil. It came down to the residents saying the levels of naturally-occurring lead sulfide were obviously not posing a health risk, as it had been there for thousands of years and generations of residents didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects. The EPA countered by saying that if the people couldn’t prove the lead sulfide wasn’t dangerous, than it must be as harmful as other forms of lead and had to be removed."
So the mayor Ron Garitone declared the location on 6th avenue, The Center of the Universe as a tongue and cheek response to the EPA. After all no one could prove that it wasn't the Center of the Universe.
The manhole cover is a super popular spot for locals and tourists. People have even gotten married there. There have been celebrations and town festivals. In 2005 a British comedian/author named Danny Wallace visited and wrote a book about the landmark. Looks like this is worth a road trip :)