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38th Depot Day draws a crowd

by JOSH McDONALD
Staff Writer | May 17, 2024 1:06 AM

WALLACE — There’s something unmistakably “summer” about classic cars and warm weather. 

In the Silver Valley, Depot Day has acted as the unofficial gatekeeper of the summer season, and the 38th edition of the event did not disappoint. 

The longest-running classic car show in the Inland Northwest, the festival commemorates the historic moving of the Northern Pacific Railroad Depot from its original location on the north side of the Coeur d’Alene River to its current location. 

“Depot Day celebrates the gem of Wallace,” Cindy Lein, Depot Museum board member, said, “a building that has existed since 1901, moved in 1986 and represents how Wallace and the surrounding areas came to be. The railroads were the reason so much ore was able to be processed and wealth came to the area. The depot is that iconic landmark. Her image is on posters, signs, T-shirts — she’s a superstar.” 

Thousands of people took to the streets of downtown Wallace, and 307 registered vehicles were on display.

In the end, 71 prizes were awarded, including Best of Show, which was won by former Silver Valley resident Jonathan Lannen and his 1959 Chevy Biscayne. 

The festival is the main fundraiser for the Depot Museum, which requires a minimum of $40,000 to operate annually. 

Lien, a former employee of the Depot Museum and current Wallace city councilwoman, said she understands the importance of the tourism season. 

“Depot Day is not just the Pacific Northwest’s longest-running car show and the major fundraiser for the Depot, it signals the annual rebirth of Wallace,” Lien said. “Depot Day weekend signals the residents to plant their colorful flowers and gardens around town, start getting outside in the sunshine on their bicycles and ATVs. The businesses are in full swing. School is almost out, and our town feels alive.” 

The Northern Pacific Railroad Depot is one of three major museums in Wallace, along with the Wallace District Mining Museum, and the Barnard-Stockbridge Museum. These three entities operate daily throughout the tourism season — May through September — and all three can be visited using a single pass. 

“When the sun is out in Wallace on Depot Day, there won’t be a parking place to be had and the streets are packed with locals and tourists, smiles and sunburns,” Lien said. “It’s a glorious festival.” 

For more information, call 208-752-0111 or visit www.npdepot.org.