Thursday, September 22, 2016

An Impending Crisis and a Major Achievement

During August and September of 1916 the major themes impacting the country did not change.  If anything, they became more sharply defined. Labor unrest continued. Prohibition and the temperance movement continued to be on people’s minds.  A national election was only months away. The United States still had troops on the southwestern border and continued to prepare for its eventual entry into the war in Europe.

 Labor Unrest

  The railroad brotherhoods began demanding an eight-hour workday in 1915.  In mid-June of 1916 they declared a strike deadline for contract with an eight-hour day of September 4, 1916.  The brotherhoods vote overwhelmingly to strike and indicate their willingness to accept federal mediation.    When these negotiations quickly resulted in a stalemate, President Wilson offered to meet with the trainmen and the railroads” before a strike was called. 
     A series of meetings then began between Wilson and the brotherhoods and the railroads. The railroads agreed to ”the basic principle of an eight-hour day” but continued to be concerned about the payment of overtime. As negotiations continued the railroads insisted on a settlement worked out by the Interstate Commerce Commission or by arbitration.  At that time the Interstate Commerce Commission had no power to regulate railway wages. The brotherhoods rejected both and urged a strike to force the railroads to “yield to their demands’”
    .  The brotherhoods were willing to settle for an eight-hour day.  The four major railroads refused to accept an eight-hour day and insisted on sending the whole matter to arbitration.  The president made an appeal “to keep the railroads running not only in the country’s interest, but in order to meet the entire world’s demands.” 
    In response to the possible developing consensus between the railroads and the brotherhoods the president met with leaders of congress to request that congress pass legislation “directing the Interstate Commerce Commission to investigate railroad wages and hours.”   When the president met again with both sides the railroads “ declared their intention of demanding arbitration and ignoring the eight hour proposal.”  Wilson then said, “ If negotiations fail the president intends to ask congress to pass a law . . .. Which averts all strikes and lockouts one year pending an investigation.” 
The next day the president addressed a joint session of congress
“in which he reviewed the strike situation.’” He recommended “an enlargement  . . .of the interstate commerce commission . . . and the establishment of the 8 hour day for all railway employees operating trains interstate . . . for congressional approval for an interstate commerce commission investigation for proposed freight rate increase . . . for an amendment to the federal law providing mediation  . . . making a full public inquiry compulsory before a strike or lockout . . . (for) legislation empowering the president . . .taking control of rolling stock necessary for military use and drafting train crews  . .  into the military  service." 

  With the strike deadline five days away and no signs of an agreement in the near future preparations for a strike began in earnest.  The local railroads: the Northern Pacific, the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation (OWR&N), and the Spokane and Inland began to make their own preparations.  Travelers were cancelling their reservations. Local agents were warned “against accepting certain classes of freight for delivery  . . . later than Saturday, September 2.”   The railroads continued to reject “every proposal” and the president continued,  “to persuade the trainmen to withdraw their strike order.” citation

    Four days before  the expected strike, state guard units were being moved to large cities in their home states.  In the nation’s capitol it was generally believed “ congress will pass the eight-hour day law.” The president was urging “quick action”. The brotherhoods however were “unable to give President Wilson any assurances.” The Santa Fe railroad said it had “46 train crews . . . stationed at division points ready to man passenger, mail and express trains.”
    On September 2, Congress passed the Adamson bill that allowed an eight-hour workday.  The brotherhoods indicated they would cancel the strike when the president signed the bill. Once the president signed the bill the brotherhoods called off the strike, the railroads lifted their embargoes, and” accepted the eight-hour law under protest”

    The establishment of an interstate eight-hour day did not end labor unrest in the country.  In New York City in late September there was the threat of a general strike.  The city responded saying it would guard the city with a force of 12,000 men. “Twenty thousand members of the Home Defense Guard are ready for duty if needed.”    When the strike actually occurred it was not as widespread as had been hoped. Some unions decided to wait and others refused to strike.

    IWW workers In Yakima who had been arrested for holding a demonstration demolished much of the jail.  The demonstration was to protest the escorting of three IWW’s to an eastbound train station. The mayor then called a meeting “to determine a policy to be pursued in dealing with other members of the organization.  Local members of the United Mine Workers have suspended work to consider whether to accept the operators wage offer 

The Military Position

    The changing military situation in Mexico and European war continued to be news.  Local men were still stationed with Pershing’s troops Arizona and Mexico.  In early August, O.R. Stillinger wrote home from Arizona describing the conditions there.    Later a description of what outpost duty at the border was printed  Five University of Idaho students were serving with the Pershing’s troop.  The Army said that these individuals “would be mustered out as soon as practical” so they could return for the beginning of the fall semester.  ” The commandant of the University cadet battalion was reassigned to a regiment stationed in Mexico.

In an editorial in the local paper it was stated that women would vote to re-elect Wilson  “because he has kept us out of war” and because “ we did not raise our boys to be soldiers”  The senate passed a 6 million dollar appropriations bill authorizing improvements at the navy yards in Baltimore, Norfolk, Boston Portsmouth, Charleston, New Orleans, and “in the Puget Sound”  At the end of August the German government admitted it fired at an American steamer.  The boat “ignored the submarine’s signals and refused to halt.”    In the negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico agreement was near. “American commissioners have agreed to give immediate consideration to the withdrawal of General Pershing’s troops if an arrangement can be made for ample border protection.”

Agricultural Life

    As the wheat and other agricultural product harvest approached there was both excitement and concern.   In early August “more than 100,000 bushels of wheat were sold “ in a single week. Orders for the necessary freight cars had been placed.   However, agriculture department forecasts for wheat, corn and oats were down from the previous year. There was talk of “the elimination of the nickel loaf of bread”   Wheat prices were currently more than a dollar a bushel and flour prices had increased proportionately.  By the middle of August when the harvest of local wheat began wheat buyers were purchasing all the wheat they could “at prices which range to $1 a bushel and better” Because of the potential for a railroad strike there was concern for sufficient cars to ship the grain.  Much of the grain was from the 1913 and 1914 crop ”which had been held . . . for an advance in price.  Before the local harvest began local wheat was selling for $1.10 to $1.12 bushel.  In early September, “The federal bureau of crops forecast barely enough spring wheat or home consumption.” Even with the railroad strike averted, there was a threatened shortage of railroad cars for transport of the grain.

1916 Politics and Presidential Election

  Politics was a concern especially because it was a presidential election year.  Charles Evans Hughes was the Republican candidate and Woodrow Wilson was seeking a second term.  Wilson planned a short nationwide campaign beginning in mid-September.  Hughes, however, began his nationwide campaign tour in August . It included a speech in Coeur d’Alene.  The local railroads offered a special train to take people to Spokane and the Coeur d’Alene, if 100 people would show an interest. The train was cancelled the following day when over 150 people indicated they would be going by car.  The paper reported that Hughes spoke to a large enthusiastic crowd 

    There were other candidates for office who were also of local interest.  Burton D. French of Moscow was the Prohibitionist candidate for congress and A. B. Clark was the Socialist party candidate. 

Terror in 1916

  Even in 1916 there were acts of terrorism.  In July there had been a bombing in San Francisco that killed nine people.  In Mid-August five people were arraigned for that bombing. The defense for Warren K. billing, charged with murder in the case, produced a witness with a strong resemblance to Billings.   He was convicted of murder for placing a bomb at the parade site and sentenced to life imprisonment. The defense requested a delay in sentencing and asked for a new trial after a new witness suggested that Billings was not the person who placed the bomb.

The Temperance Movement

    Idaho had passed a law prohibiting the sale of liquor in 1915.   Nevertheless temperance remained an issue of concern.  The State Anti-Saloon League was planning to have a convention of “drys” in Moscow and similar one in other parts of northern Idaho to have Idaho remain a dry state  The WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) was actively “ in support of the proposed constitutional amendment for state wide prohibition. ”  It planned to cooperate “with other local organizations [to] campaign for votes for a constitutional amendment to keep the state of Idaho dry forever” A prominent temperance speaker was scheduled to talk at the park on September 17.   Even before that lecture Dr. Howard H. Russell, the founder of the Anti-Saloon League spoke at the Methodist church.


If you made it this far you must be uniquely interested in the First World War.  We at LCHS are working on an exhibition and related article on the First World War and its effect on Latah County.  If you are interested in assisting in research for this exhibition (no experience necessary) do not hesitate to contact Zach Wnek, Museum Curator at 208-882-1004 or .

Written and researched by Dr. David Pierce, PhD.

Information taken from the Daily Star Mirror Moscow, Idaho various dates August and September 1916.
Specific citations available upon request.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Circus is Comming!!!

The circus was a very special event across American in the early 20th Century.  I was recently researching the circus and its effect on Latah County when I came across this wonderful circus route across the United States in 1912.  So I decided this was a great opportunity to map the route of the Sells-Floto Circus in 1912.  Below you will find the map.  Please note that the different colors represent different months.  Click on any pin to see the city and date that the circus was in town.  Enjoy!

Zachary Wnek
Museum Curator
Latah County Historical Society

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Events Prior to and Including July 1916

As a build up to the Latah County Historical Society's World War One coverage we are taking a look at WW1 events and headlines across Latah County.  Look forward to these posts once per month to set the scene for life and news across Latah County 100 years ago.

Prior to and Including July 1916
The United States did not suddenly find itself involved in the Great War in Europe.  Nor was the impending war the only ongoing circumstance causing concern. There were other conditions and circumstances which would play a part in determining the response of the citizens of Latah County to unfolding events of the next year.  A possible shortage of food, labor unrest and violence, the battle over temperance, as well as the impending war were all of concern.
A war which ultimately involved most of Western Europe began in July of 1914.   From the beginning Americans had conflicting feeling regarding the war. Theodore Roosevelt and others were for “preparedness “and advocated for our intervention in the war.  However President Woodrow Wilson insisted that America remain neutral. As a result we initially declined to participate in the war and stated repeatedly that we desired to remain neutral and trade with both parties to the conflict. This became increasingly difficult over the next several years. Germany and the other Central Powers resented the supplies America sent to Great Britain and the other Allied Powers.  Germany attacked commercial and passenger ships with submarines. The sinking of the passenger ship, Lusitania, in May of 1915 caused more Americans to begin considering whether we should enter the war on the side of Great Britain and the Allies.
By 1916 America was already engaged in a limited war, but not with the Central powers.   On March 9, 1916 Pancho Villas with 500 soldiers crossed the border and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing a number of soldiers and civilians.  President Wilson immediately sent General Pershing to capture Villas and bring him to justice.  The Army currently consisted of about 100,000 men, not nearly enough to fight Villas and prepare to join the Allied Powers in Europe.  
In early June congress passed the Defense Act of 1916.  This Act and its subsequent modifications substantially changed the composition and mission of America’s defense system. It brought the state militias into the national defense system as the National Guard.  In doing so it authorized an increase in guard training and size, and made the qualifications for officers in the National Guard and the regular Army identical.   
Moscow at one time had a militia company but it had been disbanded and some of its member had joined a unit in Lewiston By the end of June 1916 as a result of the request for troops to go to Mexica and the passage of the National Defense Act there was a “patriotic meeting” in Moscow to encourage enlistment in the National Guard. In the back of the same paper another article noted that National Guard troops from all parts of the United States were being sent to the Border..  “Congress is crowding army and navy legislation under a full head of steam”
By the 10th of July the Second Idaho Infantry had left Boise “to be taken to a border city of Arizona.  At the same time recruitment for another battalion for the regiment continued. Simultaneously it was being reported that recruiting for the second regiment had been suspended “because of diminishing funds for expense” but would be resumed by the War Department which was currently working “toward a draft, should that become necessary” On the same day President Wilson “declared that fighting results in hatred and ruins the opportunities for progress in trade and civilization.”  

With troops to be fed as well as the nation, the crop forecast which was released on July 11 was an additional source of concern.  The forecast for all major Idaho crops was lower that the final estimate for the same crops in 1915.
Fighting in Mexico and a possible food shortage were not the only concerns in Moscow at the time.   The Woman’s Temperance Christian Union planned to hold a meeting in the park to ask for a “constitutional amendment providing that the state remain dry and that liquor be abolished forever.”  The group planned to have its meeting in City Park but were determined to have their meeting regardless of the weather stating that if it were to rain the meeting would be held in the Methodist church.  The W.T. C. U.’s concern was that if interest in the amendment was small it might fail to pass in the general election.
The Daily Star Mirror continued to report on American activities related to the war in Europe. On July 18 it had a picture of Americans fighting for the Allies in France.  The next day it reported that a former UI student had been wounded while serving with Canadian Forces in France. And the following day it reported that the French government said in the event of war between the United States and any other country it would release any Americans from its army. And Senator Borah in a Senate speech urged that we enlarge our Navy. “If the United States is to enjoy the blessings of peace, we must convince the world that we are prepared for war.”

It was only mid-July but Burton L. French had already file for the U.S. House of Representatives.  He had served in the House five times previously and ran for the Senate in 1912.
Dudley Loomis, a Moscow resident with Company F of the Second Regiment which was at Nogales wrote home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kitchen Encounters with History

I love food history.  After all, it combines two of my most favorite things.  In college I took a course title "How the West Fed the U.S." and I was fascinated by the evolution of our country's food culture.  We read The Omnivores Dilemma and I quickly devoured (pun intended) every other Michael Pollen book I could get my hands on.  A few years ago I stumbled across an amazing British television program called Supersizers Go.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it to anyone for a quick history lesson and a good laugh.  No matter your background, food has a way of binding us to one and other and to the people who came before us.  It can tell our story in a readily identifiable manner.

When I started working at LCHS three years ago, I told myself that I should explore the historic cookbooks in our archives.  I wanted to use these culinary primary sources to better understand my new home in Latah County.  But I got busy with other projects and the cookbooks were pushed to the back of my mind.  When our spring intern EmilieRae expressed an interest in them as well, I was reminded of the richness of our collection.  It was her blog post earlier this year that finally inspired me to move this idea from the "I should" column on my to-do list to the "I will" column.

I chose a relatively simple recipe to begin my adventure in historic baking.  I first came across this Washburn-Wilson item in my first year on the job when a researcher came in looking for a recipe she remembered her grandmother making from a seed company's promotional cookbook.  As you can see, the Dumas Seed Company of Moscow/Pullman (which purchased Washburn-Wilson Seed Co. in 1959) was eager to promote the use of its two new products, Precooked Pea Powder and Precooked Lentil Powder.

Like most promotional material, the cookbook is undated.  The nature of the food product, however, leads me to believe this would have been published in the 1960s.  The 1950s and '60s were decades marked by the arrival of new, technologically-minded foods on American dinner tables.  The latter decade was also flavored by a growing interest in vegetarian diets and the link between what we eat and our environment.  These trends were reflected in this new Dumas Seed Co. product, which was aimed directly at consumers, rather than farmers who might plant Dumas seeds.

While the cookbook offers a number of interesting savory recipes to highlight the versatility of Precooked Pea and Precooked Lentil Flours (Pigs in Blanket anyone?), I chose the Spice Drop Cookie because it looked tasty and straightforward.

I had a feeling that Dumas's Precooked Lentil Powder might not be available anymore, and it seems I'm right.  And while the Moscow Food Co-op has nearly every other sort of flour one might consider baking with, including garbanzo, there was no lentil flour available for purchase.  In the interest of staying true to the recipe, I decided to make my own flour using locally grown yellow lentils.

Making your own lentil flour will take a while, and it's a loud and dusty process.  I was working with uncooked, dry lentils, which I suppose isn't exactly what the recipe specified.  Perhaps you could could the lentils, dry them on a baking sheet, and then pop them in the food processor.  But I was too eager to get baking.  I added 2/3 of a cup of lentils to the processor and after about five minutes, I had 1/3 of a cup of finely ground lentil powder.  I sifted the lentil flour just to remove any of the larger bits.

The dough was quite a bit firmer than I expected.  With so little liquid and so much protein and gluten from the wheat and lentil flours, I shouldn't have been surprised.

The dough smelled delicious with cinnamon and nutmeg, and I was really hopeful that these little cookies would be amazing.  But there was no getting around the fact that they taste like a health cookie.  The lentil flavor was pretty strong and the cookies had a gritty quality that was hard to get past.

Although they weren't as scrumptious as I had hoped, I did have a lot of fun making the lentil cookies.  Despite the fact that the recipe was at least 50 years old, it still felt really timely.  In an age when people are experimenting with new types of flours and looking to make favorite snacks more healthful, it's important to remember that we aren't the first generation to do so.

If you're interested in trying out a recipe from this publication or from any of our historic cookbooks, please stop by our research office, the Centennial Annex!

Happy baking!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Water In Brewing

The Water In Brewing exhibit opened at the Brews & BBQ event earlier this year.  However I thought I would take a few moments to explain the exhibit globally and how it was made.

This exhibit was born out of a brainstorming meeting that was held with community members at the 1912 Center in order to focus the LCHS programming for the Water|Ways exhibit in December and January.  This exhibit looks at the differences in water in Latah County as they pertain to brewing beer.

The first step in creating this exhibit was collecting samples from across Latah County.  I collected samples from the following lotions:

After collecting the samples in clean canning jars I analyzed them using a home chemical identification kit.  The samples were analyzed for Calcium, Alkalinity, Sulfate, Chloride and Kolback Residual Alkalinity.  Using these five factors I was able to determine the best types of beer that could be made with this particular water sample. 

The samples and information were presented at the Brews and BBQ event earlier this year and will be on display around the county in various places later this summer.

Water In Brewing installed at the Latah County Historical Society Brews and BBQ event April 9, 2016.

Zachary Wnek
Museum Curator
Latah County Historical Society

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The McConnell Mansion

McConnell Mansion
By: EmilieRae Smith

If you've ever driven down Adams Street, then you've most likely slowed down to admire the beautiful architecture of the McConnell mansion. It stands strong on the corner of Second and Adams Street, catching the eye of all passerbys. If you have never been on a tour of the mansion, or don't know much about the house, here's a quick history:

William McConnell, or sometimes known as Poker Bill because of his well-known gambling habits, moved to Moscow with his family in 1878 and ran the McConnell-Maguire department store on Main Street. The McConnell's moved into the mansion after it was built in 1886. William McConnell was also very involved in Idaho's politics. He was one of Idaho's first senators as well as being its third governor.[1]

After the McConnell's, the Adair family moved into the mansion in 1901. William Adair was a renowned doctor in the community whose services were in high demand. He specialized in “electro-therapies” and traveled to many other towns in Latah County providing medical care. He was the father of four daughters. One of his daughters, Ione, moved on to have a homestead in Northern Idaho and helped fight wildfires in the area. When the family lived in the Adams Street home , Mrs. Adair was known for her lavish garden parties, where people from all over town would gather and socialize. These garden parties captured the essence of the Victorian era.

Photo 01-05-175. c.1900.

Today, the McConnell mansion is a museum open to the public. People are welcome to tour on their own or if people want more insight, they can be taken through by a docent. The mansion is also available to rent for parties or weddings that are seeking a historical, classic theme.

The next time you have a day off or have a friend visiting from out of town, visit the McConnell Mansion for a brief look into Moscow's past.

The mansion is open Tuesday's through Saturday's from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

[1]    Legendary Locals of Moscow. Latah County Historical Society. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Moscow Treasure: The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre

The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre
By: EmilieRae Smith

Photo courtesy of Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre website.
 The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre (KPAC) in downtown Moscow is home to both live theater, foreign films and Oscar winning movies. We are lucky to have such a theater that offers diverse entertainment experiences. Not only are films and theater a form of entertainment, but it also opens the door to different cultures and ideas.

In 1908, the Crystal Theater Opera House could be found in the spot where today's Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre now stands. The Opera House operated until Milburn Kenworthy purchased it in 1926 and opened the first public theater in Moscow on January 4th. The original brick structure from 1908 was expanded to enlarge the stage area. The theater housed vaudeville performances, silent films and eventually talking films in 1929.

Milburn Kenworthy and his family spent their whole lives in the entertainment business. They took silent films to a whole new level in the '20s with live animals walking in the aisles and burning incense to intensify moods.[1] Kenworthy later built the NuArt Theater down the street from the Kenworthy in 1930.

For many years, the Kenworthy was Moscow's premier movie theater. In the 1970s, however, the theater was converted into a cafe and eventually an apartment.[2]

It wasn't until the late 1980s when the building was turned back into a theater. Today the KPAC is a non-profit organization that is deeply involved in the Moscow community. People can rent out the space for performances, to show films or even to get married.

In the past, departments of the university have hosted movie nights and festivals, such as the French film festival and the Chinese movie night. The Kenworthy always has a film or play worth seeing.

When I first moved to Moscow, the Kenworthy was (and still is) my favorite place to go for good entertainment. The Kenworthy is a place that maintains its historic feel but offers contemporary and educational entertainment. The Kenworthy Theater website lists upcoming events and showings they have. If you're ever looking for something to do in the evenings, I recommend checking out the showings at the Kenworthy, and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Photo from LCHS archives.
If you'd like to see original pictures of the Kenworthy in its early years, visit the Latah County historical society and ask to see their photo archives of the Kenworthy. 

[1]    Legendary Locals of Moscow. Latah County Historical Society.
[2]              Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre.

Latah County's Genealogy

Latah County's Genealogy
By: EmilieRae Smith

Latah County's history is rich with interesting and diverse families. In Latah County, we are lucky enough to have many extensive accounts related to the experiences of the people who shaped this reason. Not only does our historical society have many small collections related to family genealogies, but website's like “Genealogy Trails” offer birth, death, marriage and biography records of locals extending back to the founding of Latah County's towns.[1] People from the community are able to upload their own records to help expand the information available. The University of Idaho also has collections with extensive material for genealogists.  

Browsing the Latah County Historical Society's genealogy collections, you can learn a lot about some of the first settlers and long lasting contributions they had on the county.

I researched two different accounts, John and Meta Meyer and the Fredman/Hast family. John Meyer's parents, Claus and Katherine, came to the United States from Meyenburg, Germany in 1882. His parents then started a family and settled in Utah. John and Meta were enamored with Idaho's rich farmlands, which were similar to the German lowlands they grew up on. The school system that had been established and the metropolis that was Moscow also convinced them that this was the right place to call home. The Meyer's settled in the Genesee valley and established deep roots in the county. This account of the Meyer's was submitted by their granddaughter, Evelyn in 1989.[2] Eveleyn lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington but grew up hearing the pioneering stories of her grandparents.

John and Meta Meyer. Picture from the Latah County Historical Society. Pictures: Meyer.JC.02 and Meyer.Me.01. 

The Fredman/Hast family put down roots in Troy. They came to Idaho after emigrating from Alvsborg Lan, Sweden in the 1880s. The documents on the Fredman/Hast family available at the historical society show the emigration records upon entering the United States. Like most records, it accounts for all family members, their date of birth, marital status and occupations. This account has no added personal histories, just the facts. With these types of records, you don't get the insight that is offered through oral histories, like the Meyer's, but they still offer the exact information to trace a familial lineage back to its place of origin.[3]

Feldman/Hast family. Picture from Latah County Historical Society. Picture: SC-GENEALOGIES 
These two examples show the different kind of genealogical information available at the historical society. The information on the Meyers is a genealogical history told through a series of oral histories passed down through the generations. In the case of the Fredman/Hast family, it is a genealogical history told through formal immigration records. Both offer vast information on the story of a family's experiences.

The Latah County historical society has multiple archives showcasing the different types of genealogical history of local families. For budding historians or fellow history lovers, genealogy is an important factor of cultural history. By looking at genealogy, we can understand where certain traditions may arise from, what businesses are established, etc. All different areas of history are effected with familial lineages and studying genealogy gives us further insight into cultural and societal histories.

If you are interested in Latah County's genealogical history, visit the Latah County Historical Society, ask to see the Genealogy archives and enjoy delving into the past of local community members.

[1]    Genealogy Trails: Finding Ancestors. Sandra Davis.
[2]    Latah County Historical Society, Archives: SC-Genealogies File 1 to File 12. 
[3]    Latah County Historical Society, Archives: SC-Genealogies File 1 to File 12. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

W.G. Emery’s, “A History of Moscow, Idaho”
By EmilieRae Smith

In 1871, Asbury Lieuallen started a homestead a few miles outside of what is now downtown Moscow. Lieuallen was one of the first settlers in the community, but many more soon followed. By 1872, a postal carrier added Moscow to his route between Lewiston and points north. Lieuallen was encouraged by his neighbors to establish the first convenience store, which opened in 1875 on Main Street and Moscow was officially “on the road to prosperity.”

Moscow's Fifth Street in 1888. Picture courtesy of University of Idaho Library
Moscow continued to grow, opening more businesses and a schoolhouse. The construction of the University of Idaho began shortly after the opening of the schoolhouse. In 1892, the university opened its doors to its forty students and one professor. Four years later, four graduating students walked across a small stage and received their diplomas.

In 1896, W.G. Emery stood on the front steps of the Administration building and looked east over the growing town of Moscow. He noted “its substantial business bricks and neat brown and white cottages and elegant residences thickly clustered along the western slope of a low, rolling hill.”
Emery chronicled the town’s beginnings in his 27 page manuscript, “A History of Moscow, Idaho: With Sketches of Some of its Prominent Citizens, Firms and Corporations” in 1897. He noted the town’s first settlers, like Lieuallen, the first businesses and schools. His manuscript was originally published by the Moscow Mirror Newspaper.

Original Administration Building at University of Idaho, later destroyed by fire, picture taken in 1891.  Photo courtesy of University of Idaho Library

In addition to writing this manuscript, he also established a photography studio in Moscow and Pullman.

W.G. Emery was inspired, both literately and photographically, by Moscow’s aesthetic beauty, which is still apparent today. It’s the kind of beauty that has inspired artists and scholars for generations. Moscow is now home to three art galleries that the whole community gets involved in. The Prichard Art Gallery holds openings for new shows and the whole community is invited to come and enjoy. All the galleries in Moscow display and sell art from local artists.  Moscow truly is the “Heart of the Arts," a tradition that W.G. Emery perpetuated through his book and photographs.

If you’d like to know more about W.G. Emery or look at an original copy of his manuscript, please visit Latah County Historical Society and ask to see Small Collections EME-1.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Celebrating Women's History in Latah County

Celebrating Women's History in Latah County
By: EmilieRae Smith

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”
-Diane Mariechild

This March, we celebrate Women's History Month, and here in Latah County we owe thanks to many women who have helped create, nurture and transform our community. Throughout history, women have gone unnoticed, unappreciated and forgotten because of written history accounts. But in reality, we would not have societies without the work of women.

In August of 1895, the Ladies' Historical Club of Moscow was founded. The club was started by thirty women with the motto, “progression brings happiness.”[1] These women worked tirelessly with the Moscow community to preserve and curate its history, and in doing so, they have created their own history.

Also active during this time was the General Federation of Women's Club. The General Federation of Women's Club (GFWC) was started throughout America in the early 1890's during the Progressive Movement.

In 1894, The Pleiades Club, composed of seven women and named after the astrological constellation, was considered “one of the first federated clubs in the state”[2] and the oldest women's club in the entire state of Idaho.[3] The Pleiades Club was, and still is, active in the Moscow community. The interests of this particular club are literary, social and scholarly. In 1901, the Pleiades helped bring Moscow our first library and had it up and running in five years by their diligent fundraising.[4] A member of this club also founded the Moscow Historical Society, which would eventually become the Latah County Historical Society that we know and love.

 Even after women gained suffrage in 1920, some women saw voting as an arbitrary act for themselves. The GFWC of Moscow, however, decided to encourage women to have their voices heard in the government. In 1933, President of the club, Mrs. Grace Morrison Poole addressed these women by saying, “Women in a changing world has got to take an interest in politics otherwise democracy is a failure.”[5] She went on to say women need to take a stand in their local governments in order to implement real change.

Women in Latah County have been advocating for women's rights as well as preserving the region's history for generations, and continue to do so today.

If you want to know more about these clubs and the women in them, please visit Latah County Historical Society and ask to see PAM 2006-04.01

[1]    Cunningham Croly, Jane. The History of the Women's Club Movement in America.
[2]    Nielsen, Judith. The Pleiades Club Records, 1892-2011/12.
[3]    Frye, Heather.  More Than a Century Later, the Women of Moscow's Pleiades Club Still Sparkle. June 1999.
[4]    Frye, Heather.
[5]    Spokesman Review. September 1933.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lionel Hampton, His Legacy and the UI Jazz Festival

Lionel Hampton, His Legacy and the UI Jazz Festival
By: EmilieRae Smith

Every February, Moscow holds one of the oldest and largest jazz festivals in the world.[1] The tradition started in 1967 as a one day event and has grown to the four day experience we now know. The festival brings together students from elementary, junior high, high school and college with workshops, clinics, special exhibits and concerts. In 1981, the festival reached national status when Ella Fitzgerald performed. It was in 1984, however, that the festival really came into its own.

It was in 1984 that Lionel Hampton first performed in Moscow. He saw the enthusiasm the students had and pledged to support the festival.[2] In 1985, the University of Idaho renamed the jazz festival in his honor.

LCHS Photo Collection: Hampton.L.01
The "Jazz in the School" program began in 1995, which takes the visiting artists to elementary schools across northern Idaho and eastern Washington to introduce and teach students about jazz music.[3] Hampton continued to help out and show his support throughout the years. He attended sporting events and came to several more jazz festivals.

In earlier years, Lionel Hampton played in the racially integrated Benny Goodman Quartet throughout the 1930s. After that, he started the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1940.[4] From there he toured the world with his music and as a Goodwill ambassador. Him and his wife, Gladys, founded record labels, a music publishing business “and a company that built low-income housing in inner-cities.”[5] He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1997 by President Clinton and appointed to the Board of the Kennedy Center in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush.[6] Hampton continued playing music until he passed away in 2002.

Hampton was not only an outstanding jazz musician who revolutionized the sound with the vibraphone, but he was also someone who cared deeply about humanity and education. In honor of Black History Month and the Jazz Festival being this past week, we celebrate all that Lionel Hampton has accomplished throughout his life and in Moscow. If you missed the chance to attend the festival this year, be sure to mark your calenders for next February.

LCHS Photo Collection: Hampton.L.02

If you'd like to see more pictures of Lionel Hampton at jazz festivals from previous years, please visit Latah County Historical Society and ask to see their collection in their photo archives.

[1]    “About Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival” University of Idaho website.
[2]    “About Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival” University of Idaho website.
[3]    “About Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival” University of Idaho website.
[4]    Lionel Hampton Bio
[5]    Lionel Hampton Bio
[6]    Lionel Hampton Bio