Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Arbor Day!

Today we're celebrating Arbor Day on our blog with some wonderful photos from the LCHS collection that showcase how much we value our trees! 

LCHS 30-08-008: Trees along road near Harvard, Idaho.  1930s.

Arbor Day began in Nebraska in 1872 and was quickly adopted by Idahoans, who have much to celebrate on the last Friday of April each year.  Trees are among the state's most valuable renewable resources, and here in Latah County, the harvesting of timber played a major role in the area's economic and social development.  In celebrating Arbor Day, we recognize the importance of responsible harvesting and the absolute necessity of planting new trees to replenish our forests.  To learn more about why and how Idahoans celebrate Arbor Day, check out the state's official site here.


LCHS 25-13-029: Leader August Mantz and 4-Hers selected plants at the 1948 tree plating day sponsored by Potlatch Forests, Inc. 
LCHS 25-03-071: Three men 1.5 miles west of Collins, September 28, 1913.
LCHS 01-02-138: First tree planting, 2nd Street, part of mini-mall project.  April, 1971.
LCHS 15-11-022
LCHS 17-08-071: Dean Jeffers of the College of Forestry with Eleanor Roosevelt planting tree.  1930s.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good Times with Good Friends

In today's post, we are looking back on Saturday's Brews & BBQ and celebrating a successful event that brought together friends old and new to share in Herman Ronnenberg's passion for beer.  We were blown away by the support this new event received from the community, and the Events Committee is already thinking about our next party!

The American Legion Cabin served as a wonderful venue for our gathering.  Built in the 1930s by the Dudley Loomis Post 6 of the American Legion, the cabin's historic charm put everyone in the mood for our guest speaker's presentation.  (Want to learn more about the cabin?  Check out the group's website here.)

Herman Ronnenberg entertained and educated us all on the early history of brewing in Idaho.  As Herman noted, local beer was not just a tasty beverage in pioneer communities, it was largely a necessity in an era when potable water was not always easily transported.  Community breweries, moreover, were essential in the days before pasteurization and bottling technologies allowed for large eastern brewers to ship their products into Idaho.  (Herman has published a number of books, some on beer and others on impressive female Idahoans.  Find his books here.)

The Moscow Brewing Company contributed Saturday night's libations.  With both a tasty dark ale and a refreshing kolsch on tap, The Moscow Brewing Company served as the perfect illustration of Herman's central argument -- good beer has always been at home in Idaho.  (Lucas, the owner and brewer at The Moscow Brewing Company, not only crafts great beers, he is also a good friend of LCHS and loves history just like us.  Learn more about his brewery here.) 

Following Herman's presentation, folks had the opportunity to pair some fabulous barbeque with their beers.  Big John's BBQ, a Moscow-based outfit, served up several smokey treats, including ribs, tri-tip, pulled pork, and brats from Hog Heaven Sausage Works.  (Big John caters parties and events in and around Moscow.  You can find his contact info here.) 

The evening's entertainment was rounded out by a few songs from Moscow's Smokin' MoJo band. 

Without the tireless efforts of our Events Committee, Board of Trustees members, and staff, this event would not have happened.  Many thanks go out to all of the volunteers that made Saturday a success.  Most of all, thank you to everyone who came out to support LCHS!  We are looking forward to seeing you all again soon. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Breweries of Latah County

We are gearing up for our Brews & BBQ event and thought we would tempt all our friends with just a little taste of Herman Ronnenberg's scholarship in today's blog.  If only there were a way to share beer over the internet...

Below is an excerpt from Ronnenberg's article "Juliaetta, Genesee, Moscow -- The Breweries of Latah County," originally printed in the Latah County Historical Society Quarterly no.2, v.8 (Spring 1979). 

Schober Brewery, Moscow, Idaho. 1892.  LCHS Photo Collection, 01-03-209

"In the 1860s to 90s one of the prime marks of a town’s success was having its own brewery.  Three Latah County towns, Juliaetta, Genesee, Moscow, enjoyed this distinction.  Brewing in those days was an important local industry for many reasons.  It provided a market for local barley and hops, and a source of employment for local people.  The majority of brewers were German immigrants who were thus aided in entering the mainstream of American business.  Breweries all had ice houses and generally were the source of the town’s summer ice supply.  They stimulated progress by being early users of electricity and telephone service, also.  

"Although they were never attacked as vigorously as the saloons, the brewers were opposed by temperance forces for being part of the liquor establishment.  The success of those ‘dry’ forces caused the demise of the breweries.

"The material existing on the three breweries varies greatly in quantity, and the length of the treatment of each brewery is a reflection of that variation.


"Research on the Juliaetta Brewery has not produced much information.  The plant is shown on three editions of the Juliaetta City Fire Insurance map in the University of Idaho Special Collections; one advertisement for the brewery in the Moscow Mirror on January 1, 1892 (p.7, c.5) is known; and it is listed in the Register of United States Breweries which tends to have numerous errors.

"As well as can be determined, the brewery opened late in 1891 under the proprietorship of Deetson and Wartemburg and was called the Juliaetta Brewing Company.  The brewery was at the corner of Water and Third Streets its entire history.  In 1895 Diamond Howarth was the proprietor and it was known as the Milwaukee Brewing Company.  In 1896, the owner was listed as Jacob Howarth and it was again called the Juliaetta Brewing Company. 

"By 1900, the name Milwaukee Brewery was back and Nisser and McGlynn were the operators.  In 1903 Albert Wisser rand the brewery and in 1904 Chris Berner is known to have been the owner.  The 1909 city map lists the brewery as ‘no longer in operation.’  Apparently it was a small operation with the plant about fifty feet square and with an attached ice house.  In all probability beer was not shipped further than Kendrick and such adjacent areas.


"Early in 1889 Joseph Geiger and Matt Kambitch began their long association as brewers in Genesee, Idaho.  The brewery on the corner of Chestnut and Tammarack Streets featured a saloon on the front of the building facing Chestnut Street.  Apparently the brewery never produced large quantities of beer.  The fire insurance map of Genesee for 1893 says the brewery could produce seven barrels per brew.

"The Genesee News of May 11, 1894 (p.5, c.1) contained a brief history of the brewery in its special issue to promote the town.

Geiger and Kambitch are the managers of the institution which is operated in a first class quite manner.  The brewery was established in 1889 and has always enjoyed a good reputation.  The quality of the beer made is pure, wholesome and healthy and wherever sold bears a good name.  Each member of this firm has a good residence in our midst.

"Very little about the brewery appears in the Genesee newspapers of these years.  In 1892 there was a story that Matt Kambitch came up smiling with an eleven pound boy, born October 22.
In 1893 the Star Saloon in Genesee was owned by Geiger and Gesellche, with Gesellche becoming the sole proprietor in a few months.  The Geiger here may well have been the brewery owner but that is not certain. 

"The competition between beers was always strong in Genesee.  Moscow beer was sold there for years and in 1893 when the newly enlarged Moscow brewery went bankrupt, Spokane’s brewers entered the competition.  A letter in the brewery archives at Washington State University says the new York Brewery of Spokane entered the marketing areas of Genesee, Vollmer and Uniontown in 1893 when the Moscow Brewery closed.

"Out-of-state brewers from St. Louis and Milwaukee also competed successfully in the Northwest in the early 1890s thanks to the new railroad networks.  The Silver Safe Saloon in Genesee advertised Moscow keg beer at 75 cents per keg and St. Louis bottled beer at $10 per barrel in September of 1892.  Bottled beer was sold by the barrel in those days because barrels were a convenient packaging device.

"Apparently in 1902 Joseph Geiger became the sole proprietor of the brewery.  By 1908 bottled beer was being produced there.  An advertisement in the Genesee News of February 21, 1908 (p.4, c.1) was for ‘Gold Drop Beer, a Genesee Product, manufactured by the Genesee Brewery.’

"As local option loomed, one Paul Rech took over the brewery and announced his intention to sell ‘maltine’ a beverage containing less than 2% alcohol.  This apparently was not successful.
In the middle of April of 1909, the county liquor license for the Genesee Brewery was denied.  The Latah County Commissioners had decided to make the county dry by administrative directive instead of democratic process.  All liquor licenses were routinely denied in 1909. 

"In July of 1909 this ad appeared in the Genesee News:

The last chance to get your harvest wet goods, threshers buy your ginger brandy now.  Everything must be sold by 12 o’clock Saturday night when the town will go dry.  Near beer will be the next best.  All goods reduced.  Next week you will find me at the old stand selling soft drinks, tobacco and cigars. – O. O’Reilly

"A week later the same paper said Genesee was ‘dry’ with the expiration of O. O’Reilly’s liquor license.  Only two saloons were still in operation in Latah County (Princeton and Kendrick), with now breweries operating.

"Genesee apparently never took the dry movement very seriously.  The paper contained a number of funny stories about the movement.  The Genesee News (September 24, 1909, p.3, c.3) ran the following story from Grangeville which sums up their attitude:

A very ardent prohibitionist had a great deal of local option literature stored away in a barn.  During his absence on a lecturing tour the herd of cows became hungry during the absence of the owner, broke into the shed and ate a lot of the literature and when the owner returned every cow he owned had gone ‘dry.’ "

To learn about Moscow's breweries, find the rest of the article here on our website.

We hope to see you at Brews & BBQ on Saturday!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Who is this?

Today we have a true mystery at the Latah County Historical Society.  I was recently gone for a week and this picture arrived as a donation while I was gone.  I am hoping to solicit help from anybody who might be able to identify the person in the picture or any information about it.  We know that it was purchased at a barn sale about 25 years ago and on the back of the portrait is the word Clarke written in pencil and cursive script.  I am considering this item for accession, however I know nothing about it.  If you have any information please contact:

Zach Wnek
Museum Curator
Latah County Historical Society

Please help us find out who this is.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Giving LCHS a New Look

Have you noticed the new LCHS lamp that adorned our most recent newsletter and other printed materials?  In today's post, our Museum Aide and graphic designer shares some of her thoughts on the updated logo.

Original LCHS logo, created in 1978.
"The design that is part of the masthead at the top of this page is the Society's new logo, which was planned by a committee composed of Marion Featherstone, Tom Berg, and Sam Schrager. The lamp was selected as symbolic of early times, knowledge, and the home. Photography by Phil Schofield. You will be seeing the logo on Society stationary, brochures, and other publications."   -- LCHS Quarterly Bulletin, Vol 7, No 3, July 1978

Redesign of LCHS logo, created in 2014.

After thirty years with the same logo, the staff at LCHS thought it was time for an updated identity. I am a professional graphic designer when I'm not putting in hours as the museum aide, but I was a little nervous when I was entrusted with reworking our logo.  The LCHS lamp has acquired integrity as a logo after decades of representing our organization. We wished to retain the recognizable form of the lamp, but years of photocopying duplicate images had left us with a logo that, when scanned, was fuzzy and less than attractive.  This redesign allowed us to create a digital image that can be easily shared and reproduced.

The new logo is modeled on one of the lamps in our collection. One problem that became apparent with the original logo, is that when it was used at a smaller size, the text arching over the lamp became difficult to read. Another issue is that the base of the old lamp was mostly transparent, and this also didn't read well at a smaller size. I attempted to solve this problem by creating a series of logos that can be used interchangeably.

The new lamp has a solid black base to help make the logo easily readable from a distance. The new version of the logo also uses a different font that is more readable at smaller sizes. Our series of logos offers a variety of different configurations for the layout of the text and the lamp so that we have more flexibility with how the logo can be applied. We did not make any of these changes lightly. I discussed the direction of the redesign several times with staff and volunteers, as wells as friends and family. The new logo has been in use now for a couple of months. We would love to hear what you think of the redesign, because we truly value your feedback.

Hannah Crawford
Museum Aide

Hannah Crawford spends the other half of her time running Mouse Trap Studio. If you'd like to see more of her work, visit