Latah County, Idaho is honored to celebrate its 130th anniversary as a County.
It is on that day, 130 years ago (1888) that President Grover Cleveland signed the act of Congress into law that created Latah County.
Latah County remains as the only US County that was formed this way. In honor of this anniversary, the Latah County Commissioners invite the public to come to the Latah County Courthouse, room 2B to hear the reading of a proclamation, and enjoy some treats provided by
the Latah County Commissioners.
On that day, Latah County will also be able to show off its new universally accessible basement entrance.
Below are some fun facts about Latah County:
• The Nez Perce, known also as the Nimiipuu People, spent time in present day Latah County for
centuries, digging camas and pursuing trade with other tribes.
• Many of the first non-native people to arrive in the region in the 1860s were pursing mining
opportunities in the northern part of the county. At various points copper, mica, vermiculite, asbestos,
opals, and gold have all been mined in Latah County.
• Farmers who supplied food to mining camps settled in the area of Four Mile, now known as Viola. It
is one of the earliest communities in northern Idaho and was a village before any settlement took hold
in the area of Moscow.
• One of the first settlers to arrive in the area was George Washington Tomer, for whom Tomer's Butte
is named. The first homestead filed in the county was by A.A. Lieuallen in Paradise Valley. Both men
arrived in 1871.
• The first store in the county was opened in 1873 by Samuel Neff, who also operated the Paradise
Valley post office. Within the decade the community's name was changed to Moscow.
• Homesteaders arrived in the area of Juliaetta in 1878 and the region's more mild climate provided a
place for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables that are still enjoyed by the county's residents.
• Latah County was created in 1888 by an act of the U.S. Congress, after many years of unsuccessful
attempts to separate from Nez Perce County.
• The University of Idaho was awarded to the county seat in 1889, forever changing the face of Latah
• Latah County was home to an enormously valuable forest of white pine, much of which was
purchased by Weyerhaeuser interests and managed by the Potlatch Lumber Company organized at
the turn of the century. The company built its own town in 1905 to house a large mill and hundreds of
• Lumber and agriculture drove the economy of Latah County throughout the 20th century.