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The Idaho panhandle was first occupied by humans at least 14,000 or more years ago. The native tribes at the time of white settlement were the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane to the north, and the Palouse and Nez Perce to the south.
In 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition "discovered" Idaho at Lemhi Pass, and descended the Lolo Trail, returning eastward the following year. The first white settlers made their homes in the Moscow area in 1869, when it was called "Paradise Valley". The name was changed to Moscow (pronounced MOSS-co) in 1875 with the opening of a Post Office. Some say it was named after the city in Russia. More likely it was named after Moscow, PA (founded in the 1830's), the home town of Samuel Neff, who opened the Post Office.
Idaho was the western part of the Louisiana Territory which was purchased by the United States from France in 1803 for $15,000,000. President Abraham Lincoln signed the act which established the Idaho Territory in 1863. Idaho became the 43rd state on July 3rd, 1890.
Originally a logging town, the predominant industry is now farm crops (wheat, barley, dry peas and lentils).
Interesting places to see nearby include:
The McConnell Mansion
This home was built in the late 1800's by Governor William J. McConnell. It is now used by the Latah County Historical Society with displays of period furniture and relics. It is located at 110 S. Adams St., Moscow, ID. Call (208) 882-1004 for information.
This is an interesting destination for a short day ride. It's the peak of a pink granite mountain sticking up through the lava and silt of the Palouse country north of Colfax, WA. Named after a US General who lost a battle with the local Indians, it once had a large hotel at the top, which burned to the ground many years ago. It offers a 200 mile view from the top (in clear weather). The narrow road to the top is very rough pavement, with lots of rocks and surface defects.
The butte was a sacred "power spot" for the local Indians, who called it Eomoshtoss. Young boys often did their spirit quests on its summit.
The Appaloosa Museum
The Appaloosa Museum is dedicated to the horse breed of the same name. How the Appaloosa got its name is locally interesting.
The Spanish introduced horses to Mexico in the 1500s, and horses rapidly spread throughout North America, reaching the Northwest around 1700. Idaho's Nez Perce tribe became excellent horsemen and breeders, and created large herds renowned for their strength, intelligence and beauty.
Meriwether Lewis (of the Lewis & Clark expedition) was impressed with the breeding accomplishments of the Nez Perce, and wrote in his diary entry of February 15, 1806:
"Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty, eligantly [sic] formed, active and durable. Some of these horses are pided with large spots of white irregularly scattered and intermixed with black, brown, bey [sic] or some other dark color."
Some of the Nez Perce's horses were spotted, and settlers coming into the area began to refer to these spotted horses as 'A Palouse Horse', as a reference to the Palouse River, which runs through Northern Idaho. Over time, the name evolved into 'Palousey', 'Appalousey' and finally 'Appaloosa'.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, interest in the breed slowly grew as Appaloosas began appearing in Western roundups and rodeos.
On March 25, 1975 Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus signed a bill naming the Appaloosa as the state horse.
Copyright © 2004, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.