With a little imagination, two upcoming historic walking tours offer the opportunity to time travel.A self-paced tour in Pullman Friday evening features narrated stops. Saturday in Moscow, a guided tour will take place downtown. Both tours will use architecture to tell the story of the town — its characters, culture and the changes that have taken place.
The Pullman tour is sponsored by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and will feature a commission member at each of the seven downtown structures on the tour. Each stop will have a five- to 10-minute presentation.
The commission has hosted historical tours in the past, which highlight downtown buildings that are noteworthy both in terms of their architecture and importance in the community.
“Most people drive by at, or slightly above, the speed limit, so they don’t really notice,” said Ned Warnick, commission chairman.
The Moscow tour will be led by Dulce Kersting-Lark, executive director of the Latah County Historical Society, and based on information in “A Great Good County: A Guide to Historic Moscow and Latah County, Idaho” by Lillian W. Otness. The book is now out of print, though the historical society is working on updating and reprinting it.
“By looking at the buildings, you get the sense of when Moscow came into being in the late 20th century,” Kersting-Lark said.
The tour is one of three offered this summer, all differing in content. The first has already taken place.
Highlights along the routes include:
- In Pullman, the war memorial outside of the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center, notable because not much is known about it.
- In Pullman, the building that now houses Thomas Hammer coffee was once home to a JC Penney store. It’s an example of art deco mid-century modern architecture and represents a time during the 1940s and ‘50s when shopping was focused downtown.
- In Moscow, the northwest corner of Third and Main streets was first the location of a wood-framed grocery store before becoming home to the First Trust and Savings Bank. The grand structure was removed and replaced in 1964. The changing streetscape will be a focus of the Moscow tour.
- In Moscow, the post office got its first-class status because of Psychiana, a mail-order religion whose postal demands required a higher-status facility. At its peak in the 1930s, Psychiana was the largest employer in town, besides the university. Its downtown offices were a buzz of activity.
- In Moscow, the animal busts that sit high atop the third story of the McConnell Maguire building are typically unnoticed by passers-by.
IF YOU GO — PULLMAN:
WHAT: Walking tour led by Pullman’s Historic Preservation Commission
WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Begins at Brelsford WSU Visitor Center, 150 E. Spring St., Pullman
MORE INFO: This self-paced tour will take just more than an hour to complete at a leisurely pace, though a faster, abbreviated tour would be possible. People are asked to arrive no later than 8:30 p.m.
IF YOU GO — MOSCOW:
WHAT: Walking tour led by Moscow’s Latah County Historical Society
WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday, July 28
WHERE: Meet at the corner of Third and Main streets, Moscow
MORE INFO: Another tour, featuring different locations, will begin at 11 a.m. Aug. 18 at the same site.