Settlers were first drawn to the area in 1871, with abundant grassland and available timber for building. The area was first named "Hog Heaven" which was later changed to "Palouse Valley." In 1877, Samuel Neff filed for a postal permit under the name of Moscow because the area reminded him of his hometown of Moscow, Pennsylvania. In 1875, the city’s first store was opened on what is now Main Street. Moscow grew with the arrival of the railroad in 1885. The town became incorporated in 1887 and was chosen as the site for a land-grant institution, the University of Idaho, in 1889. Idaho achieved statehood in 1890.
Today Moscow is home to over 23,000 residents and students. The area boasts a highly skilled and educated work force employed by Moscow’s many thriving businesses and the University of Idaho. Merchants offer an extensive selection of quality products and services.
In addition to Moscow’s fine business and educational reputation, the City’s arts community has gained national attention. The Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, Festival Dance, Renaissance Fair, Rendezvous in the Park, Artwalk and the Prichard Art Gallery are reasons why Moscow is known as the "Heart of the Arts." Moscow has also been rated as one of the "Best 100 Small Art Towns in America."