Bi Metallic Building, home of the Oasis Rooms, began its
existence in 1895 as a hotel and saloon. At that time,
Wallace was largely a cedar swamp, a fact attested to by
stumps visible in a crawl space under the building’s
Burnt cedar stump - a casualty of the 1910 fire - still visible in the crawl space under the Bi Metallic Building
The Bi Metallic is one of few structures in Wallace to survive the famous 1910 fire. Of particular interest are its mosaic-sized floor tiles, imported from China and laid one by one in a simple pattern.
|It is uncertain when the Bi Metallic
Saloon/Hotel became the Oasis Rooms. In the world’s
richest silver mining district, at a time when the men
outnumbered the women nearly 200 to 1, one business may
simply have become more profitable that the other.
|The Oasis was hardly a unique establishment, being one of five such brothels along the town’s main street. Each business sported a neon sign advertising “rooms”—one wonders how many unwary travelers had to be told that these particular rooms were hardly places to rest!|
|For years the brothels operated without
hindrance, until in 1973 a Boise Statesman article
charged that a politician had agreed to go easy on law
enforcement in North Idaho in exchange for a $25,000
campaign contribution. By the time the article was in
print, Wallace’s brothels were closed. But not
unmourned. At halftime during a University of Idaho
football game, students unfurled a 40-foot-long banner
bearing the plea: “Give Wallace Back Its
The Lux Rooms, the Jade Rooms, the Arment Rooms, and the U & I Rooms no longer exist. Only the Oasis Rooms have been preserved just as they were.
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