Moscow
Pop. 21,291

Originally known to Nez Perce Indians as Tat-Kin-Mah (place of the spotted deer), this community nestled in the heart of Palouse country welcomed the first white settlers in 1869. These first few homesteaders tended to come and go, and the fledgling site became known regionally as “Hog Heaven” because razorback hogs grazed on the area’s abundant camas bulb fields. When Almon Ashbury Lieuallen arrived in 1871 as the first permanent settler, however, he decided the area needed a more appealing name if it had any hope of attracting more residents. He changed the name to Paradise Valley, and a post office was established in 1873.

In 1875 the current name of Moscow was adopted. Some claim the idea for the name change came from Lieuallen himself. He supposedly believed the community’s problematic solitary landscape was comparable to problems in Russia, as that country was under the rule of Ivan the Terrible. Still others claim the name change came from a postmaster or town business official who decided the area was reminiscent of a Pennsylvania town known as Moscow. In either case, the name change took hold and Moscow slowly began to grow.

In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Moscow wasn’t much to speak of, but by 1900, the population was around 300. When Congress ceded land from the adjacent Nez Perce reservation in the mid 1800s, Latah County was created, and Moscow was designated as the county seat. The area’s reputation was further bolstered when Moscow was selected in 1889 as the site for the land-grant University of Idaho. By 1920, the community had acquired over 4,000 residents, and the town continued its steady growth throughout the twentieth century. Today, Moscow is known for its friendly atmosphere, a culture of superb arts and entertainment, and admirable architecture.

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