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Moscow, Idaho

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Moscow is a city in northern Idaho along the state border with Washington, with a population of 25,435 at the 2020 census. The county seat and largest city of Latah County,] Moscow is the home of the University of Idaho, the state’s land-grant institution and primary research university.

It is the principal city in the Moscow, Idaho Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Latah County. The city contains over 60% of the county’s population, and while the university is Moscow’s dominant employer, the city also serves as an agricultural and commercial hub for the Palouse region.

Along with the rest of northern Idaho, Moscow is in the Pacific Time Zone. The elevation of its city center is 2,579 feet (786 m) above sea level. Two major highways serve the city, passing through the city center: US-95 (north-south) and ID-8 (east-west). The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, four miles (6 km) west, provides limited commercial air service. The local newspaper is the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

Miners and farmers began arriving in the northern Idaho area after the Civil War. The first permanent settlers came to the Moscow area 151 years ago in 1871. The abundance of camas bulbs, a favorite fodder of pigs brought by the farmers, led to naming the vicinity “Hog Heaven.” When the first US post office opened in 1872, the town was called “Paradise Valley,” but the name changed to “Moscow” in 1875. The name Paradise persists in the main waterway through town, Paradise Creek, which originates at the west end of the Palouse Range, flows south to the Troy Highway, and west to Pullman where it enters the South Fork of the Palouse River.

Historians have disputed on the precise origin of the name Moscow. There is no conclusive proof that it is connected to the Russian capital, though various accounts suggest it purposely evoked the Russian city or was named by Russian immigrants. Another account claims that the name derives from a Native American tribe named “Masco”. Early settlers reported that five local men met to choose a proper name for the town, but could not agree. The postmaster, Samuel Neff, then completed the official papers for the town and chose Moscow for the name. Neff was born in Moscow, Pennsylvania, and later moved to Moscow, Iowa.

By 1875, the town had a business district that was a center of commerce for the region. By 1890, the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company’s rail line (later the Union Pacific) and the Northern Pacific railroad line helped boost the town’s population to 2,000. Wikipedia

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