Learning the history of the area you call home is not only fun & interesting, but provides a unique insight into things you may see and interact with every day! Whether you are new to the area, or a long time resident, it’s time to brush up the history of the place we call home.
It may come as no surprise that due to the abundance of camas bulbs, a favorite fodder of pigs, as well as our grassland and timber, settlers were first drawn to Moscow and the surrounding area in 1871. The first name given to the area, fittingly, was “Hog Heaven”, which was later changed to “Paradise Valley.” The name “Paradise” can still be seen in the main waterway that runs through town, Paradise Creek. The name Moscow wouldn’t come about until 1877, when a man named Samuel Neff filed for a postal permit under the name Moscow because the area reminded him of his hometown; Moscow, Pennsylvania.
The town’s first store opened in 1875, on what is now Main Street. The railroad arrived in 1885, bringing a new flow of people & development. Moscow was chosen as the site for the University of Idaho in 1889. And by 1890, when Idaho achieved statehood, Moscow was bustling.
If you venture through Moscow’s downtown today you are likely to see numerous historical buildings hosting vibrant businesses in the very places that some of the earliest commerce took place on the Palouse.
In fact, our building here at Latah Realty is a historical building! It was a general store for clothing, dry goods, and groceries originally built by the five Odberg Brothers. It was built in the late Victorian; Italianate style in 1913, and the store remained in business under the name Odberg & Anderson until 1958.
“The Oberg Brothers advertised their usual mid-summer clearance sale to begin on June 25 and continue for fifteen days. Boy’s suits, generally selling from $3.00 to $7.50, were marked down to $2.25 to $5.50. Women’s gloves were reduced from $1.25 to 98 cents; canned salmon would go for ten cents and coffee, usually priced at 40 cents per pound, was on sale for just 35 cents.”
Check out Moscow’s Historic District registry to dive deeper and read more about our home’s rich history!