I was scavenging the web for strange facts about Idaho and I couldn't get past this gem from the gem state. In 2004 Ron Garitone was the mayor of Wallace Idaho. Wallace is in Northern Idaho, not too far from Coeur D'Alene. It is a little town of about 800 people and was founded in 1884. According to mentalfloss.com, In the early 2000s when Ron was Mayor the Environmental Protection Agency -EPA- claimed that the levels of naturally occurring lead sulfide in the town’s soil was dangerous and needed to be removed. Good ol' Mayor Ron had a lot of issues with this. First of all, how the heck do you do something like that? Second... prove it, Third, we've been living with it for generations, and fourth... um no - not gonna happen.

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The EPA responded that unless the locals could prove that the lead sulfide was safe that it would be considered and officially filed as dangerous. Mayor Ron wasn't going to let them win easily. Being a clever man he decided he would declare that Wallace was the center of the universe because, just like with his soil, no one could prove otherwise.

The precise point that Mayor Ron claimed as the spot is slightly off-center from the intersection of Bank and Sixth Streets, marked by a manhole cover decorated with a compass rose. It also has the codes for the four major mining companies in the region—the Sterling Mining Company (SRLM), Bunker Hill Mine (BHM), Helca Mining Company (HL), and the Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation (CDE).

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 :)


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