Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Ice Cream Social

What a great day for some Ice Cream!  For those of you who didn’t attend, the 2014 Ice Cream Social was on Sunday, July 27th.  The event was a rousing success, and I would like to take a few moments to share with you my impressions of the event.  There were events happening on three sides of the McConnell Mansion and even more fun inside.

The flag was raised at 1:00pm sharp by Gary Grove and his grandson Bryson while local musician Arden Skoglund performed "The Star Spangled Banner" and the Hog Heaven Muzzleloaders sounded a black powder salute.  After the national anthem the Muzzleloaders setup on the west side of Adams Street to inform people about their historical displays, providing a living history experience at the event.  In front of the Centennial Annex, Steve Talbott was splitting shakes out of ceadar.  The shakes were being traded for donations to LCHS, 1 for $1 or 4 for $5.  What a deal!

The Muzzleloaders signaling the beginning of the Ice Cream Social.

On the front lawn of the McConnell Mansion were the children’s events.  Many children enjoyed washing the laundry with wash tubs and ringers, while some of the other children played dress up.  Kids had fun making and designing par fleches, Native American style bags.  Other children made re-usable bags out of old T-Shirts and a little ingenuity, courtesy of the Latah County Sanitation and Recycling Department. 
Dress-up clothes are prior to the event.

The Moscow Weavers were situated on the front porch showing off their weaving skills to the public.  Moving into the McConnell Mansion, guests were greeted by volunteers and staff of the Latah County Historical Society who shared with them the history of the home.  Inside of the Mansion was a busy place indeed.  The Appolosa Lace Guild was in the front parlor demonstrating lace making.  In the family parlor there were two exhibits, one was a veteran’s exhibit created by former LCHS Executive Director and longtime supporter, Mary Reed.

The veterans and flag exhibits at the Ice Cream Social.
The veteran's exhibit examined some of the veterans of Latah County from the Grand Army of the Republic up until Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008.  The other exhibit was a flag exhibit created by current LCHS Executive Director, Dulce Kersting.  This exhibit was highlighted by a hand made flag presented to a Latah County veteran of WWII who helped to liberate parts of Austria at the end of Nazi occupation.  The dining room, hallway and servants quarters were also available to tour on the lower level. 

A member of the Moscow Weavers at the Ice Cream Social.

On the upper floor there was an art exhibit by local artist Kristin Carlson Becker located in the children’s room.  This exhibit was created for ArtWalk and will be available until September 4th, 2014 when the exhibit closes with a presentation by Kristin Carlson Becker on her work.  This event is free and open to the public and we look forward to seeing you all there.  The second major exhibit available for viewing was the Caddie Woodlawn exhibit located in the green room.  The Caddie Woodlawn exhibit showcased the impact of Caddie Woodlawn and the success of Carol Ryrie Brink.

The Caddie Woodlawn exhibit in the Green Room of the Mansion at the Ice Cream Social.
This exhibit contains documents, photographs, video and objects regarding Caddie Woodlawn and was created specifically to open for the Ice Cream Social by yours truly, Museum Curator, Zachary Wnek.  Throughout the house many historic quilts were also on display.  These quilts were created by Latah County quilters.  LCHS has many quilts in their collection and works to alternate the quilts on display. 

Along the side of the house was the band, Undiscovered Country, entertaining the guests all afternoon long with great music.  I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the University of Idaho for the use of their sound equipment.

Undiscovered Country playing at the Ice Cream Social.

Folks enjoying Undiscovered Country.

Also along Second Street was a fire engine and an ambulance courtesy of the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department.  The MVFD had their equipment out and ready to show the public as well as their Dalmation.  There was also a brief history of the MVFD available with historic images and text.  Thank you to the MVFD for their time on Sunday.

The MVFD display board with the engine in the background.

An MVFD Fire Engine at the Ice Cream Social.

At the corner of Van Buren St. and First Street, the northeast edge of the original McConnell lot, guests could enjoy wagon rides up to East City Park, pulled by draft mules.  We would like to thank Anna Boyd for sharing her team with us on Sunday afternoon. 

Wagon rides at the Ice Cream Social!

In the rear of the house was the main event, ice cream with toppings and watermelon.  The ice cream this year was generously sponsored by the Dewitt, Johnson and Lindsey families in memory of their mother Connie Dewitt.  The ice cream was served with your choice of pineapple, strawberries and chocolate syrup.  To augment the ice cream was a serving of watermelon.  There were 660 bowls of ice cream served up this year. 

This annual event was also generously supported by the Latah County Community Foundation.  We thank the Foundation for their commitment to improving the lives of local residents by funding a wide variety of projects, including our community-building Ice Cream Social.  You can find out more about this terrific group, as well as how to donate to their efforts, at   

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in making the 2014 ice cream social a great success.  I am sure that I did not mention everybody who helped make this great event possible.  With the 2014 Ice Cream Social behind us, we at LCHS are looking forward to next year already!

Serving up free ice cream and toppings at the Ice Cream Social.

 - Zachary Wnek
Museum Curator
Latah County Historical Society

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Celebrating Local Treasures

This Saturday LCHS is hosting a reception for two of Latah County's finest local historians. Dorothy Anderson and Herman Ronnenberg, both of Troy, were recently recognized by the Idaho State Historical Society for their years of dedication to preserving and promoting local and regional history.  Dorthy and Herman received the state's Esto Perpetua Award in June at a ceremony in Boise, but we wanted to show our appreciation for their tremendous work with a party a little closer to home. 

Please join us on Saturday, July 19th at Troy's Filling Station from 2:00 to 4:00 to congratulate Dorothy and Herman in person.  Refreshments will be available for purchase and a celebratory cake will make this one sweet afternoon!

Given this weekend's festivities, I thought I would share with you all the brief biography I submitted with Dorothy's nomination to the Esto Perpetua selection committee.  Dorothy is a truly remarkable woman, and I enjoyed the opportunity to tell the folks at ISHS why she is so great!

            "I first met Dorothy Anderson just three days into my tenure as Museum Curator at Latah County Historical Society.  It was an unseasonably hot June afternoon, and Earl Bennett’s Bovill Run was making a final stop on the north county historical bus tour in downtown Troy.  We were greeted by Dorothy’s friendly face, protected by a broad sunbonnet, and her infectious enthusiasm for her community’s history.  As we began our walking tour of Troy’s commercial district, Dorothy’s insightful and entertaining narrative chronicled the development of the town and helped me forget about the oppressive heat. 
            "Just a few weeks later I had the good fortune of making Dorothy’s acquaintance more formally when she visited our archives in Moscow to do research.  I learned that Dorothy moved to Troy in 1944 as a high school student when her parents bought the local newspaper.  In subsequent conversations Dorothy recounted feeling a little sad about leaving her friends in Wyoming to move to the rather remote north Idaho town; those feelings, however, soon passed.  Dorothy has been a resident and booster of Troy ever since.  After marrying her husband Ellis, a native son of Troy, Dorothy attended the University of Idaho to become a teacher.  She spent 26 years with the Troy School District, and it was in this capacity that Dorothy began her campaign to preserve Troy’s history.  

            "It all began, she said, when she and few colleagues in the elementary school realized the need for a local public library.  As a committee formed in the early-1990s to raise money for a new library space, Dorothy and her husband were also quite active in the formation of a group that would plan Troy’s centennial celebration.  Of course many of the people interested in creating a space for community members to share knowledge were the same individuals who wanted to preserve Troy’s history.  Before long Dorothy found herself the leader of a fledgling Troy Historical Society, a role she has been dedicated to for nearly two decades.   

            "Dorothy’s list of contributions to the preservation of Troy’s cultural heritage is impressive.  She served on the Centennial Committee, celebrated in 1992, and no doubt sparked a passion for history in many young Troy residents when she involved her students in collecting oral history accounts from local business owners.  From the gathered information, Dorothy pieced together the history of many of the buildings that make Troy’s downtown such a beautiful example of a 19th-century western town.  In turn, these building histories were used to nominate several structures to the National Register of Historic Places.  As is the case in many communities, some property owners pushed back against the idea, believing that designation would infringe upon their rights.  It was Dorothy who bridged the gap between the preservationists and the owners.  Her personal touch, reinforced by her credibility as a long-time resident, went a long way to allay apprehensions among business owners.  With the hard-won blessing of the owners, many of the nominations went on to be successfully accepted to the National Register.  You can guess who worked on the attractive signage that now adorns each historic building.

            "Another of Dorothy’s accomplishments was organizing the 1995 All School Get-Together, a reunion for all past attendees of schools in Troy and the immediately outlying areas.  She recounted to me that the motivation behind such an all-encompassing event was to provide a reunion for all the men and women who did not get to attend high school, instead going to work after the 8th grade.  Inclusivity characterizes much of Dorothy’s work.  When she took on the important task of documenting experiences of locals who attended the now vanished rural schools around Troy, she again turned to her students.  Not only did she collect incredibly valuable primary accounts of one-room schoolhouse life, she also engaged the next generation of residents in their local heritage.  Moreover, she and her husband Ellis went on to create a 1/12th scale replica of the county school at Burnt Ridge, based on those collected oral histories, that has been enjoyed by residents of Troy and the county as a whole.  

            "Under the expert guidance of Dorothy, the Troy Historical Society has produced a number of invaluable resources.  “Troy, Idaho: A Historical Walking Tour” provides visitors and residents alike with all the information necessary to appreciate the historic structures of the town.  The pamphlet is second only to a guided tour by Dorothy herself, a proclamation I can make based on personal experience.  Indeed Dorothy makes herself available for any school class, historical commission, church group, or scout troupe that inquires.  Members of the Idaho State Historical Society Board of Trustees might remember meeting Dorothy on one such tour a few years ago, when they lunched in Troy at Herman Ronnenberg’s home.  Dorothy also edited and narrated a wonderful video released by the Troy Historical Society entitled Yesterday, Vol. 1, which provides audiences with an overview of the town’s rich history.  Additionally, every year the society produces an exhibit for Troy Old Timers’ Day.  That is, in fact, the occasion that brought Dorothy into my office last summer.  The 2013 exhibit, which consisted of informational posters displayed throughout downtown Troy, related the history of many local businesses.  While the Troy Historical Society has done a terrific job preserving photos and documents on their own, the organization continues to collaborate with other heritage groups like our county historical society to improve their programming and enrich our shared knowledge.  I was happy to contribute some of our original photographs to her exhibit, as any partnership between our organizations surely benefits all of us.

            "The good work of the Troy Historical Society is especially noteworthy because the group has achieved so much with limited resources.  Although the group lacks a traditional museum space and does not own any storage facility of its own, Dorothy and her colleagues have made a significant commitment to preserving local history.  Admirably, Dorothy has sought out the advice of local and state resources.  Keith Peterson of ISHS and Mary Reed of the Idaho Association of Museums have both been invited by Dorothy to consult on future plans for the organization, and Latah County Historical Society has been approached for technical support as well.  Dorothy’s relationship with a prominent family in the community, the Brockes, helped the Troy Historical Society secure a safe space for the storage of archival materials at a local bank.  While a member’s basement might have proven a more convenient location, Dorothy pursued a solution that would protect the resources from potential dangers such as flooding or fire.  An ultimately unsuccessful bid to purchase or lease part of the original Troy High School building for the Historical Society has not deterred Dorothy for identifying venues in which to tell the community’s unique story.     

            "As a relative newcomer to north Idaho, I have a lot to learn about the history of this wonderful region.  Thank goodness for people like Dorothy, who happily answer my questions, no matter how naive.  Her patience and willingness to explain events or describe people seems endless, and truly, I could listen to her wonderful stories for hours.  She has further demonstrated her commitment to educating others by agreeing to serve as Troy’s official City Historian, a program that the Latah County Historical Society supports.

            "Dorothy tells me that even as a child, she knew the importance of history.  An interest in how other people built their lives motivates her projects and an appreciation for other cultures, past and present, continues to inspire her curiosity.  Given Dorothy’s long list of accomplishments, it is clear that she is a lover of history and just as importantly, a lover of Troy."               

Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 Troy Old Timers' Day

Today we at the Latah County Historical Society would like to fill you in on a little event happening in Troy TOMORROW July 12, 2014.   This event is the Troy Old Timers' Day.  This event is free to attend, however has some costs involved for food and some activities.  To begin talking about this event let's take a look at the events that are planned.

The event begins with an all you can eat pancake feed for only $5.  This event is sponsored by the Troy Lions Club.  I would suggest eating a light dinner tonight so that you can take advantage of this great deal.  The pancake feed starts at 6 AM, so be early and be hungry.

A pancake feed in Moscow, ID, circa 1950, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, 01-11-110.

After everybody is full of pancakes the next natural thing to do is go for a run to help eliminate the calorie overload.  The Boy Scouts are sponsoring a 5K fun run along the Latah Trail beginning at 8 AM.

C.S. (Hec) Edmundson, 1908 AAU National Champion, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, Edmundson.C.01.
Once you have ran, it is time to sit back and enjoy a parade down Main Street of Troy.  The parade will have coffee and doughnuts available to replace all those calories you lost while running at the Troy Lutheran Church.

After the parade it is time to sit down for a good, old fashioned buffalo burger.  Buffalo burger sales will start at 11am as will the Snake River Six, a live band.  Live music will continue throughout lunch with Chanda Knaptik performing at 12:15 and Carla Miles performing at 1:15.  The music and lunch is sponsored by the Troy Lions Club.

There is a 3 on 3 basketball tournament beginning at 11 AM hosted by Lori Smith and the Troy Recreation Department.  If basketball isn't your sport there is also a 4 on 4 volleyball tournament beginning at 11:30 AM hosted by the Troy High School Volleyball team.

The Troy High School boys basketball team from 1917, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, 15-06-003.

The highlight of the afternoon (At least I think so) is the buffalo chip toss.  At high noon there will be a buffalo chip tossing contest so I encourage everyone to chuck their chips and see who can get their pioneer fire starter the furthest.
Debi and Mike Kealey, buffalo ranching near Troy in the 1980s, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, 25-02-463.

Well these are simply the morning and early afternoon activities.  The entire event goes until 8 PM.  For a full list of activities, events and vendors I encourage you to go to their website here: .  I hope everybody has a great time out in Troy this weekend, be sure to stay hydrated as the forecast claims it will be close to 100 degrees out there.

  - Zach Wnek
Museum Curator
Latah County Historical Society

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guest Post from the Phillips Farm Pioneer Day Camp

Today we have a guest post from the Phillips Farm Pioneer Day Camp, enjoy learning about this opportunity for the youth of Latah County.
Parents, are you looking for something different and adventurous for your kids to do this summer? Want them to learn how to cook outdoors? Churn butter? Hike wild trails with a pack goat? Identify edible plants? Participate in an archaeological dig? They are welcome to come join us at the Phillips Farm to explore nature and experience pioneer life on the Palouse!

This summer, Moscow Parks and Recreation, Latah County Parks and Recreation, and the Friends of Phillips Farm, Inc. are offering a Pioneer Day Camp for kids going into 2nd through 6th grade. Participants will embark on an exciting journey through the natural world, learning outdoor skills and self-sufficiency at the Phillips Farm County Park.

Throughout the week, campers will hike trails, explore the local pond, solve real problems, and engage in hands-on activities that allow them to explore nature and gain confidence in pioneer skills. Songs, games, and adventures outdoors will make this camp a true highlight of summer.

Two sessions (July 14-18 and July 21-25) will be led by Camp Director Nicole Campbell and Assistant Director Chelsea Rose, both experienced outdoor educators, and will take place on the beautiful forested and open trails of the Phillips Farm County Park, just 5 miles north of Moscow. Campers can attend one or both sessions, since activities will be varied. The program will go from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and parents will drop off and pick up participants at the park each day. The camp fees are $150/week for Moscow residents, $151 for nonresidents, but scholarships are available. Contact Kathy Dawes (208-310-2922) for more information.

Nicole Campbell previously served as educational program coordinator for Henry Coe State Park in California, taught at a "living history" program, and has had several years of experience teaching at an outdoor school and designing hands-on lessons for youth. For questions regarding the camp, please contact her at:

To register, call Moscow Parks and Recreation at 883-7084.

by Kathy Dawes,
Secretary, Friends of Phillips Farm, Inc.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day has always been cause for celebration in Latah County; these have taken many different forms, however most of the early Independence Day celebrations were either parades or parties.  In this post I would like to take you on a journey through time and space as we discover some of Latah County's Independence Day celebrations in the early 20th Century.

To begin our journey we will travel to Kendrick in 1904, only 14 years after it had been incorporated (1890) and 15 years after the city was founded (1889).  At this stop there are pictures of the Independence Day parade in Kendrick.  As you look at these photos notice Lady Liberty on the float underneath the American flag.  In the lower photo see if you can count the number of American flags on display.  Keep in mind that these photos were taken in 1904 before the Kendrick fire of the same year.

A fourth of July parade float in 1904 in Kendrick, ID., Latah County Historical Society photo 10-08-007.
A fourth of July parade float in 1904 in Kendrick, ID., Latah County Historical Society photo 10-08-008.

Now travel north to the city of Potlatch, where the Independence Day celebration was a crowded affair on July 4th, 1914.  By this time the Potlatch Lumber Company was well established and their workforce was enjoying a hard-earned day off.  Luckily for Potlatch, Independence Day happened to be on a Saturday in 1914, so the loss of labor was probably minimal.  

The fourth of July celebration in the streets of Potlatch, ID in 1914, Latah County Historical Society photo 12-02-003.

Moving from the city of Potlatch southeast across the Palouse to Troy.  We enter Troy on Saturday July 4th, 1925.  The photograph below shows an Independence Day parade down Main St. in Troy.  A close inspection of the first photo offers a view of the Pocket Billiards store and, if you look closely you can see the Lutheran Church at the end of Main St.  Take a moment to examine the interesting mix of transportation available, vehicles, horses and pedestrians appear to be harmoniously sharing the street.

The fourth of July parade in Troy, ID in 1925, Latah County Historical Society photo 15-08-020.
Jumping ahead three years to 1928, the Independence Day parade in Troy looks a bit different.  In this image is Troy's Main Street again, however the buildings appear to be made out of brick instead of wood.  Transportation in Troy has changed in three short years, with no horses in sight.

The fourth of July parade in Troy, ID in 1928, Latah County Historical Society photo 15-02-11.
 Now, it is time to leave Troy in order to travel back in time approximately 30 years to Lenville, Idaho.  In 1889 Lenville built a school, which operated until 1946.  For independence Day in 1889 or 1900 the school threw a party.  The teacher "Uncle Charlie," stands near the doorway holding a small bell.  The students and their families came to the school for a fantastic photograph.

Fourth of July celebration at the schoolhouse in Lenville, ID, Latah County Historical Society photo 06-06-025.

I am exhausted by all of this traveling through time and space.  Thank you for coming on this journey with me and we at the historical society wish you a very happy and safe Independence Day this year.

 - Zachary Wnek
Museum Curator
Latah County Historical Society


Boone, Lalia Phipps, From A to Z in Latah County, Idaho: A Place Name Directory, (Lalia Phipps Boone, 1983), 57-58.

Latah County Historical Society Photograph Collection.

Otness, Lillian W., A Great Good Country: A guide to Historic Moscow and Latah County, Idaho. (Moscow: Latah County Historic Society, 1983), 115, 128-129, 149-150.