The Story of Moscow’s Idaho Hotel

Built before 1900, the Idaho Hotel was an iconic landmark brick building that stood at the corner of A Street and Main Street for nearly a century before it was destroyed as a part of a highway rerouting plan to revive Moscow’s downtown.

Built in the late nineteenth century, the Idaho Hotel served Moscow’s north-Idaho community for many years. At the time of the brick building’s construction, Idaho had just earned its position as the 42nd state in the United States. The hotel was a necessary piece of Moscow as the community quickly grew around agriculture, timber, and other land-use intensive industries. With a population exceeding 2,000 permanent residents at the time the hotel was built, the Idaho Hotel would be ready to house temporary workers and others passing through. In its early years, the Idaho Hotel saw decent business because of the city’s connectivity in the Northwest, due to Moscow’s two railroads and position as one of the largest agricultural communities in the panhandle. The Idaho Hotel benefited from Moscow’s relatively lively community and even saw gain from having a brewery (now known as the Corner Club) next door. Throughout the early and mid-twentieth century, the hotel served its place in the city. Around 1940, Art Crossler bought the Idaho Hotel. Crossler renovated the building into the “New” Idaho Hotel throughout the mid-1940s, constructing new brick on the south wall, adding annexes, and installing a state-of-the-art elevator.

Since then, the Idaho Hotel underwent some other name changes and renovations, including briefly being known as the New Motor Hotel. After the construction of Moscow’s Eastside Marketplace and Palouse Mall in the 1970s, business downtown began to slow as it did in many communities. A downtown revitalization project proposed in the late 1970s included a major highway reroute to make downtown more pedestrian friendly, and Crossler sold the hotel to the Idaho Department of Transportation. In an interview with the Spokane Daily Chronicle, Crossler mentioned that it just was not profitable to maintain the old building as small hotels had gone past their prime. The Hotel Idaho was then destroyed in 1977 to make room to reroute US 195’s traffic onto Washington Street to improve traffic safety and pedestrian experiences downtown.

At the expense of the historic landmark hotel, downtown Moscow now enjoys a family-friendly downtown with plenty of parking, crosswalks, and commerce.

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Formerly located at the southeast corner of Main St and A St.