Wednesday, May 17, 2017

University of Idaho

These historic images of the University of Idaho can be found at the Latah County Historical Society.

Original University of Idaho Administration building.
University of Idaho students in front o the Blue Bucket Inn.  The Blue Bucket Inn was the forerunner of the Student Union building on the U of I campus in the 1920s and 1930s.  The Idaho Pep Band, a volunteer student organization, is outside the building.
University of Idaho Administration Building (original) with cadets drilling in front.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Photo Essay of historic images from Downtown Moscow

Below is a collection of historic photographs from the Latah County Historical Society archives of Main Street in Moscow, Idaho.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Freeze at Christmas

The following is text from the book Landed Gentry 1871-1978 by Opal Lambert Ross pages 17 and 18:

On Christmas eve the church was host to everyone.  Getting ready for the party was half the fun.  Interested neighbors would meet at the Mike Freeze home to pop and string popcorn-yards and yards of popcorn to trim the Christmas tree.  There was a supply of nuts and hard candies to apportion into snacks, hopefully a snack for each of any number of people who might come to the church to enjoy the evening.  After the fun-work was done Mrs. Freeze would make a lunch for the workers.

And then would come Christmas eve and the people would gather to laugh and visit, to Oh and Ah at the sight of the sparkling tree, and to exchange gifts.  One evening someone filled a mustache cup with gum drops and set it under the tree for her favorite boy friend.  Blanche Wolheater and Myrtle Clyde noticed the gum drops and had a sample.  They found plenty of excuses to walk by, each time eating another gum drop.  When the evening was almost over and the presents were distributed, only the cup was left.

The children shared with beaming parents the program they had been practicing since Thanksgiving.  Some talented person pumped and played the organ while a joyous chorus gave out with carols.  Then, mysteriously and suddenly, no one knew from where came Santa Claus, sweeping down the aisle in a white beard and pillow-padded belly, jingling sleigh bells, jollying and frightening the small children out of their wits.   Sometimes they never did find out who Santa was and thus could reasonably believe there was a Santa.

Santa had a snack of treats for everyone.  Each person could dig into his sack, pushing aside the candy and nuts till he laid his hand on the single orange that was sure to be there.  "Silent Night" would close the evening.  Mothers would gather up sleeping babies and all would tstep out into the cold night and go home in a thoughtful, reverent mood.*

* From Blanche Wiolheater Nagle and from my [Opal Lambert Ross - Author] own memory of Christmas eve at church.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Latah County Historic Preservation Commission

The Latah County Historic Preservation Commission (LCHPC) conserves historical buildings in Latah County by listing them on the National Register of Historic Places. LCHPC is and Idaho Certified Local Government organization.  LCHPC also works to provide digital content for our historic buildings by using QR Code technology.  The LCHPC has created over 30 fully scanable QR Code historic building placards and has placed them around Latah County.  The LCHPC is hoping that the use of QR Codes will increase content available to the public and find a new, younger audience.

The LCHPC has created the digital content at little to no cost, the only costs being creating the physical signage to post the QR Codes.  Below are links to some of our QR Code content that extols the virtues of Latah County's history.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bank of Troy

The bank of Troy was built in 1910 at this site.  In 1914 the bank merged with the First Bank of Troy, located across the street.  When the banks merged, Ole Bohman was elected president, a post that he held for 47 years.  The next president of the bank became Frank Brocke.  Frank Brocke, who began as a cashier at the bank, became one of the most successful bankers in the West.  In 1960 the First Bank of Troy had over 6,000 active accounts, the city of Troy at this time had just over 500 people living in it.  Frank Brocke was so successful that he received an award for his hard work and had an article written about the First Bank of Troy and himself featured in the Los Angeles Times.  Frank Brocke studied his customers and their needs.  Customers were constantly astonished when the president of their bank knew all of them by name as they entered the bank.  Frank Brocke studied not only the finances of the bank but also his customers, examining their needs and ensuring that he knew exactly how to best serve them.  The First Bank of Troy was one of the last locally owned and operated banks in the United States.

Frank Brocke at work, Courtesy of the Latah county Historical Society, Brocke.F.01.
Frank Brocke had the pleasure of being held up at gunpoint.  The first time was in 1950 when a masked bandit made off with $5,448.00.  The bandit made off with the money but did not get far as Frank Brocke quickly alerted local officials to the robbery.  This robbery was quick and easy, not very well planned and the robber had no intention of clearing the vault.

Frank Brocke, age 69, Courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, Brocke.F.02.

The second robbery was a different story.  At approximately 4 A.M. on September 6, 1963 a man broke into Frank Brocke's private residence.  After waking the Brocke family he let his two accomplices into the house.  Once the band had assembled they held the Brocke family hostage until the bank vault opened at 9 A.M.  Frank Brocke informed the intruders that the vault, which was on a time release lock, was old and did not always open directly at 9.  At 7 A.M. two of the band took Frank Brocke into the bank while the third bandit held Margie (Frank's wife) and Bob (Frank's 15 year old son) hostage.  The robbers remained in the bank, holding anybody who entered the bank hostage, all the while proclaiming that nobody would get hurt if they didn't step out of line.  The clock finally struck 9 o'clock.  Unfortunately, the vault door did not open.  The robbers informed Frank Brocke that if it did not open by 9:15 that they would shoot him.  At 9:14 the vault door opened and the robbers took $55,386.00 and headed out of the area.  The robbers were eventually apprehended in Seattle, WA the next day.


Doroty Anderson, Troy City Historian.

Otness, Lillian W. A Great Good Country: A guide to Historic Moscow and Latah County, Idaho. (Moscow: Latah County Historic Society, 1983), 131-132.

The Spokesman-Review, September 7, 1963, Front Page.


The site of present-day Genesee was located within the Nez Perce Reservation by the Treaty of 1855. It fell outside the reservation under the controversial new treaty in 1863, a year after the Homestead Act was passed by Congress and three years after gold was discovered at Pierce, Idaho.  Idaho territory was also formed in 1863 with Lewiston as the short-lived capital. As a homestead could not be claimed until the land had been officially surveyed, major settlement around Genesee would not occur until the first surveys were completed in 1870-1871. 

Main Street in Genesee, no date, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, 06-02-03.

In 1870, John P. Vollmer, Alonzo LeLand and a man named Stone, who was the agent for the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, made a trip from Lewiston up Cow Creek.  Stone mentioned that the area reminded him of his home in the Genesee Valley of New York and that is how the town and valley got its name. “Old Town” Genesee was established in 1879 on the main Nez Perce trail that would become the first stagecoach road from Lewiston.  A fort was built in the town in 1877 in response to the Nez Perce War, but there were no hostilities and the fort served as the local school. Ten years later, the town had 45 inhabitants with a general store, hotel (stagecoach stop) and a post office.

The east end of Genesee looking North, 1910, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, 06-01-15.
In 1888, Vollmer and partners brought the Spokane and Palouse Railroad (soon to be part of the Northern Pacific RR) to the area.  Due to a problem with getting land for the railroad in Old Town, Vollmer platted a new town site one mile west of Old Town.  During this same time period, Latah County was carved out of Nez Perce County and Genesee became part of the new county.  “New Town” Genesee grew very rapidly and by 1890 had over 1,000 people and was the major shipping center for agricultural products from as far south as Grangeville.  By now, “Old Town” had been abandoned.  New Genesee would enjoy rapid growth and prosperity until the railroad arrived in Lewiston ten years later.

Main Street in Genesee, no date, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, 06-02-06.

The incredibly rich farm land surrounding Genesee has supported the community over the years through several ups and downs.  For example, the town suffered a setback in the early 1950s when Hwy 95, which went through town, was realigned, bypassing Genesee. Again, farming and the close proximity to Moscow and Lewiston, both university communities, have kept the town going.  Genesee is today a small community with just under 1,000 citizens. The town is well known for its excellent school, productive farmland and for the Pacific Northwest Cooperative (PNW), the largest farmer’s cooperative in the Pacific Northwest.

A parade of automobiles in Genesee, 1914, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society, 06-02-013.


Boone, Lalia Phipps. From A to Z in Latah County, Idaho: A Place Name Directory (Lalia Phipps Boone, 1983), 37.

Otness, Lillian W. A Great Good Country: A guide to Historic Moscow and Latah County, Idaho. (Moscow: Latah County Historic Society, 1983), 167-168.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Axel Bohman's House

Axel Bohman was one of three brothers who immigrated to Troy in 1903 at the age of 20.  Axel originally immigrated as Axel Olssons, however he decided that name was too common, so he and his brother Ole cahnged their name to Bohman.  The Bohman brothers became very prominent in Troy business circles, especially lumbering and baking.  In 1912, Axel married Julia Mattson and this house was built in 1914 next to Axel's older brother Ole's house.

Axel and Julia started their family in this home having three children, Alice, Morris and Helen.  Axel and Julia shared their home with Julia's father Peter Mattson until he passed in 1925.  In 1938 the family moved to Lewiston where Axel managed the Troy Lumber Company.  All three of the Bohman children went on to graduate from the University of Idaho.

Axel Bohman was a prominent man in Troy and was associated with many businesses including Borlen's Department Store, F. M. Green Grain Company, the First Bank of Troy and the Troy Lumber Company.

Axel's brother Ole, who lived next door, was involved in the Bank of Troy from 1905 until it merged with the First Bank of Troy.  Ole Bohman was the president of the First Bank of Troy from 1914 until 1961 when he passed away.  Ole Bohman was also elected to the Idaho State Legislature for two terms biginning in 1915.  Vivian Bohman Moline, Ole Bohman's daughter, recalls that"I remember him (Ole Bohman) saying he never missed an election to cast his vote and that he had never voted a straight ticket."


Johnson, Stella E. History of Troy. (Troy, ID: Stella E. Johnson, 1992), p. 149-154.

History of Idaho: Personal and Family History Volume III. (Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc. New York, 1959), p. 67.