The First World War in Latah County, Idaho

By Latah County Historical Society

A brief history of activities happening in Latah County during the First World War.

The First World War touched every corner of the country, including the communities of Latah County. Young men from north Idaho traveled to the war front while families "did their bit" on the home front. Explore this online exhibit to learn more about WWI's impacts on Latah County.  

Moscow Boys celebration before leaving for camp (1917-10-06) by Hodgin's Photo, No.2Latah County Historical Society

Off to Camp Lewis

Latah County was incredibly proud of their servicemen. Some young men voluntarily enlisted while others were conscripted into the fight. In this image young men prepare to leave Moscow, Idaho for Camp Lewis, Washington (now known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord).

Moscow Boys Leaving for Camp (1917-10-06)Latah County Historical Society

A celebration on Main Street in Moscow, Idaho for the boys leaving to Camp Lewis on October 6, 1917.

Moscow boys leaving for Camp Lewis (1917-10-06) by Hodgins Photo No. 4Latah County Historical Society

Moscow boys leaving for Camp Lewis on the Northern Pacific Railway, October 6, 1917.

Airplane Stock- Potlatch Mill (1918)Latah County Historical Society

The Potlatch Mill

The mill in Potlatch, Idaho was busy during the war years, adding lumber for wooden crates as well as airplanes to its product line. These three men are standing in front of a stack of airplane stock.

Women Potlatch Mill Employees (1918)Latah County Historical Society

The New Crew

Many young men left their jobs at the mill to assist in the war effort. As a result, women were hired to work in the Potlatch mill. Previously women had only worked in administrative support roles with the Potlatch Corporation. Similar situations played out across the country as women filled vacant factory jobs and contributed significantly to the American war effort.

Women Potlatch Mill Employees. (1918)Latah County Historical Society

Three female employees in the Potlatch Mill during the First World War, in 1918.

Box Factory Crew, 1918, From the collection of: Latah County Historical Society
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Potlatch Home Guard. (1918-09)Latah County Historical Society

The Potlatch Home Guard in 1918, comprised of men exempt from the draft or too old for military service. In the absence of the National Guard, this body was charged with protecting public safety.

World War I - Liberty Bond Parade (1918-10)Latah County Historical Society

Liberty Bonds

Here nurses march in a Liberty Bond parade in October of 1918. Each star on the waving flags - known as Blue Star flags - represents a family member in service. The sale of Liberty Bonds funded the American war effort, and patriotic individuals were expected to purchase as many bonds as possible. 

World War I Soldiers marching, 1917, From the collection of: Latah County Historical Society
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First World War soldiers marching down Main Street in Moscow, Idaho. J. C. Penney department store can be seen in the background of the image.

Barracks and Machine Shop BuildingsLatah County Historical Society

New Construction

The First World War necessitated new construction in order to accommodate the needs of soldiers. This image shows a recently completed barracks and machine shop in Moscow, Idaho.

Avery Recruits. (1918)Latah County Historical Society

As men signed up to do their part in the war effort, many began their training at the University of Idaho before being sent to Camp Lewis in Washington.

Mrs. W.E. TruittLatah County Historical Society

Red Cross

The Red Cross had a large presence in the region. Local residents became nurses and served in France, while others remained in Latah County raising funds, making bandages and preparing care packages for the soldiers at the front.  

North / Union Pacific Railway Depot - World War ILatah County Historical Society

The First World War brought Latah county residents together in many different ways to support the war effort.

This final photograph shows Latah County men boarding a train, headed for Camp Lewis, Washington for training.

Credits: Story

The First World War in Latah County, Idaho was developed by the Latah County Historical Society.

Zachary Wnek, Museum Curator, Latah County Historical Society, developed this exhibition for the Google Cultural Institute.

References used in research for this exhibition:

The Daily Star-Mirror, Assorted articles and editions 1917-1918, Moscow, Idaho, accessed via microfilm at the University of Idaho Library in Moscow, Idaho.

Petersen, Keith C., "Company Town," Washington State University Press, Pullman, Washington and Latah County Historical Society Moscow, Idaho, 1987.

All digital materials used in this exhibition are copyright the Latah County Historical Society (LCHS). Original materials can be found at the LCHS office and are available for research.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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