Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fun with Research

I started doing more research into novel #3 yesterday--which is putting the cart WAY ahead of the horse when I have about 100 pages left to write for novel #2, but when I need to put so much into the cart before the horse can be hitched, this is a good way to spend time. The facts are slightly different than I want them to be, but I'll change them as needed, which is the convenient thing about being a fiction writer. Facts serve story, not the reverse.

Cool facts about Moscow AKA Paradise Valley--or, for my purposes, simply "Paradise."

A visitor in 1880 described Moscow as "just a lane between two farms with a flax field on one side and a post office on the other." During the next five years the town grew to a population of 300 and a branch of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Co. (Union Pacific) linked Moscow to the rest of the country. 
(Wikipedia, Moscow, Idaho, 1-19-11)

Moscow was made Latah County seat and in 1889 Moscow became the site for Idaho's land grant college, the University of Idaho. In exchange, Moscow had to agree to drop its support for the movement to join Washington in statehood. Latah County may be the only county ever formed by an act of Congress.

I *love* this history. There is so much humanity in it--so much negotiation and intrigue. I keep coming back to "you stop trying to join Washington and we'll give you a university." I want to know about time zones, now. Moscow and northern Idaho runs on a different clock than the South--we run on the clock of the Western states rather than that of the Mountain states. There's a rapids on the Salmon river which I've traveled many times named "time zone." When did it become the case, I wonder, that Moscow became an hour ahead of Boise? Curiouser and curiouser. I can't want to visit the Historical Society and Latah Co library next time I'm in Moscow to learn more.

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