Monday, November 16, 2015

Подмосковные вечера

Не слышны в саду даже шорохи,
Всё здесь замерло до утра.
Eсли б знали вы, как мне дороги
Подмосковные вечера.

In the garden, not a sigh is heard
All is gently stilled 'till the dawn
If you only knew what they mean to me,
These peaceful Moscow nights
  -- Mikhail Matusovsky, translated by blokh

For a beautiful version of the song, Moscow Nights, sung in Russian, but with an English translation on the screen, click here.  Or to hear the song the way it was introduced to American audiences at the height of the Cold War in 1962, here's the Chad Mitchell Trio's version.  Awfully gutsy of them to sing it in Russian, don't you think?  But the trio started out as a group of singers from Gonzaga University, and Spokane isn't all that far from Moscow, after all.

Sunday morning, November 15th, I got out of bed with Kevin saying, "If you're going with me, you'd better hurry up."  He wouldn't say where he was going, but I'm not one to turn down a road trip, and in this case, I suggested a few places I'd like to see, including the east side of Lake Coeur d'Alene and the town of Moscow in neighboring Idaho.  Knowing that when Kevin makes up his mind to hit the road, there's no time to lose, I forewent my morning coffee and breakfast, showered, dressed, and grabbed my camera and Idaho highway atlas, and jumped in the passenger seat of Kevin's truck.

Now don't get the idea that I did without breakfast.  I knew that Kevin would be stopping at the Conoco station in town, and that's the best place to get breakfast on a Sunday morning in Plains, Montana.  So, after eggs, hashbrowns, sausage and coffee, we headed out for Paradise, St. Regis, and Interstate 90 heading west.  The weather was warm, for mid November, and Lookout Pass was clear.  We turned off I-90 at Idaho exit 22, turning south on Idaho Highway 97 to follow along the eastern shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene.    This is not a speed way.  There are places where the suggested speed was 20 mph and Kevin said that was too fast for his F350.  He remarked repeatedly that the highway department must hate plowing this road.  We could catch glimpses of the lake, and the occasional marina, but no good photo ops presented themselves (partly because of the overcast sky and dull light), with one exception.  We passed one turn out where I could not only see the lake below clearly, but even saw a speedboat leaving an "s"-shaped wake behind it.  A perfect photo, missed.  That was the one that got away.

The Harrison Community Baptist Church
Harrison, Idaho

Near the southern end of the lake sits the town of Harrison.  With a population of 203, it was one of the larger towns we drove through.  Well, actually we stopped.  Kevin wanted to pick up some snacks at the Trading Post and I took advantage of the delay to snap some photos, including the church shown above.  It was Sunday, after all.

South of Harrison, Idaho 97 merged with Idaho 3, the road I had taken a couple of weeks earlier, and we drove on into, and ultimately through St. Maries.  There were some pictures I wanted from that town, things I had seen on my earlier trip, but not photographed, so we took the time to visit the town's rail yard.  Last trip I had seen a locomotive and a caboose bearing the name of the St. Maries River Railroad, a name I had not heard before.  We were able to find the caboose easily enough, but the locomotive eluded us.  I can't believe it had been moved as none of the rolling stock we saw appeared to have budged even an inch in the last twenty years.  But while on the prowl, we stopped long enough for me to photograph the station.  Originally built in 1908 by the Milwaukee Road, the station apparently was a great disappointment to the people of St. Maries.  If you look at the stations the Milwaukee has left in places like Missoula, Butte, and Great Falls, Montana, you will find beautiful buildings, easily among the most visually interesting pieces of architecture in those cities.  This is, I gather, what the locals expected in St. Maries.  You can see below what they got, but hey, the building was built in 1908, and the 1910 census counted 869 people in St. Maries.  Talk about Great Expectations!

The St. Maries River Railroad Station
(Formerly the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Station)
St. Maries, Idaho

Leaving St. Maries, we continued south on Idaho Highway 3, passing through Santa and Fernwood, as I had two weeks previously, but then we crossed back into Shoshone County, passing the town of Clarkia, the south-western most town in the county.  Boy do these folks have a long way to drive to get to their county seat--and they have to pass through two other counties before getting there.

A few miles further south, we crossed into Latah County, heading toward the town of Bovill and Idaho Highway 8 which would take us into Moscow.  About the time we crossed the line, Kevin noted that he was hungry.  By our watches it was almost 1:30 and breakfast had been several hours earlier.  I said I didn't know whether we'd find any place to eat in the few small towns ahead of us, but Kevin was willing to wait for Moscow.  Bovill, population 260, was founded by an Englishman named Hugh Bovill, who started ranching, then built a hotel with a store and post office.  As the town grew, according to Wikipedia, it became too wild for Hugh who took his wife and daughters to more civilized climes.  There is a building in Bovill on the National Historic Register, but I didn't see it.  I did see the building below, which I thought was a church, until I read the sign in front of the structure.  Back at home, with the internet at my disposal, I learned that the White Family Heritage Library was originally St. Joseph's Catholic Church, but the building was purchased and refurbished through gifts, largely from the family of Grace White Ryan who had grown up in Bovill.  The name on the sign made me think this might be a genealogical library, but according to the web, it is actually the Bovill branch of the Latah County Library District.

The Bovill Branch Library
Formerly St. Joseph's Catholic Church
Bovill, Idaho

Halfway between Bovill and Moscow, we passed through the town of Troy.  On the west side of town, up a steep hill from the highway, we saw a huge building that looked abandoned.  I had Kevin drive around the building, and I feel I can be excused for thinking at first that this was some sort of Roman Catholic institution.  Crosses in the United Methodist Church generally have three letters inscribed on them  "IHS," which we are taught stands for "In His Service," but actually is a stylized way of putting Jesus on the cross--a crucifix as it were, without the naked body.  And the I is often larger than the H and S, and placed between them, HIS.  Next to the ornate, two story brick building seen below was a greenish quonset hut shaped building with a monogram on the end.  HTS  It finally hit me that I was looking at a capital T, not a cross or the I of my youth, but rather the monogram of Troy High School.  And sure enough, this morning I called the Troy School District and learned that the building below was the former Junior/Senior High School, replace by a new structure in 2003.  I was also informed that the building is now owned by a private party.  Whether that party has plans for the structure, I have no idea.  With a total school population of 262 (including elementary, junior and senior high students), it's hard for to imagine how children ever filled this institution.

The Former Junior/Senior High School
Troy, Idaho

Ten miles west of Troy lies the city of Moscow, home of the University of Idaho.  Established as the territory's land-grant college in 1899 (Idaho became a state in 1890), the school has grown into a prestigious institution of higher education.  With nearly 12,000 students, the school is smaller than its cross state rivals Boise State and Idaho State (22,000 and 15,000 students respectively), but the faculty and students have an advantage in Washington State University, less than 10 miles away in Pullman, Washington.  The question that Kevin and I both had, and for which I have so far been unable to find a truly satisfactory answer, is why Moscow?  According to Wikipedia (and we all know that we can trust everything we read in that cyberpublication, right?) Moscow was chosen as home to the new institution as a sop to northern Idaho residents when Washington statehood approached in 1889.  Feeling closer to Washington than to Boise, residents of the northern panhandle tried to break off from Idaho territory and join with Washington.  "Here, if you stay with us, you can have a University," I hear the politicians saying.  And why Moscow?  Because, again according to Wikipedia, it was the second largest community in the territory at the time.  I have no way of corroborating this as the 1890 census figures for Moscow are missing.  By 1900, Moscow was, indeed, the second largest community in the new state, with just a few more residents than Lewiston, and half the population of Boise, but in 1880, Moscow counted 97 residents.  It must have grown a lot if it was second to Boise by 1889.

Be that as it may, by the time we reached Moscow, we were both hungry.  My main reason for coming to town was to take a photo of the Latah County Courthouse, but we were both so hungry that we decided to have lunch (at 2:30 local time) before seeking out the local administrative building.  Yelp suggested that most restaurants were on South Main, and I learned what a poor navigator I was in that I kept telling Kevin where I felt we needed to go, but he chose other routes.  Eventually we ended up on South Main and parked outside one of the places written up on Yelp, Maialina Pizzeria Napoletana.  Pizza's a safe choice, right?  Well, the three sheets of menu that we were given listed several offerings, none of which came at all close to Kevin's choice of meat lovers.  After consulting with our waitress, we decided to leave Maialina in search of something Kevin could eat.  Walking up one side of South Main, and back down the other, we ended up at La Casa Lopez where I had perhaps the best mole poblano I've eaten.  Unfortunately, Kevin ordered a burger which left a lot to be desired.  But then, who orders a burger in a Mexican restaurant?

By the time we finished lunch, it was getting dark.  Yes, we're moving toward winter.  Dusk at 3:30?  So be it.  We found the court house and I took my pictures.  There are many beautiful buildings in Moscow, Idaho, maybe not as colorful as St. Basil's Cathedral in that other Moscow, but still gorgeous examples of architecture.  Unfortunately, the Latah County Court House is not one of them.

We left town on US 95 heading north, then east on I-90 from Coeur d'Alene.  All told I took 65 photographs in the course of the day.  We got home around 8:30, roughly eleven hours after we left.  I didn't keep track of the miles we added to Kevin's odometer.   Because I've posted so many landscapes, I felt it best to concentrate on some of the interesting architecture we saw on this drive.  Stay tuned for more adventures on the road and off.

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