Tours of Moscow's cemetery uses information gathered at the Latah County Historical Society

MOSCOW, ID - Exploring a cemetery may not sound like a leisurely activity, but some say it's the perfect way to learn about a community's history.

Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin introduces us to a woman who hosts tours of Moscow's cemetery and explains why the sacred ground may be worth a second look.

"I think there's a really special thing here," said Former Latah County Historical Society Director Mary Reed.

Mary Reed retired from her position as the director of the Latah County Historical Society in 2006, but she's still teaching the community about its past.

"It's an interesting story," said Reed.

Reed gives tours of Moscow's cemetery using information gathered at the Latah County Historical Society.

"We have tens of thousands of documents, thousands of obituaries," said Latah County Historical Society Museum Curator Dulce Kersting. "Many, many, many original photographs. And I think in the age of the internet, you think everything's out there. But not everything's on the internet yet. So we're a valuable place to come to."

Reed uses that wealth of information that dates back to the 1800's to point out the gravesites of some of the city's most influential people.

"It's just interesting to see the headstones themselves," said Reed. "The types of carving, how things were expressed in those days. And also it's a way of learning a bit about Moscow history. I think it's a very, kind of a lively way to do it."

And some of the stories are more scandalous than you might think.

"It's a very volatile society here in those days," said Reed.

There is a solitary grave that belongs to a woman that fell in love with a married doctor.

"The only explanation for this was that he must have hypnotized her," said Reed.

The lovers committed suicide together, but the families didn't allow them to be buried next to one another.

"They left notes saying they could not bear to be apart," said Reed.

Another enticing aspect of this cemetery is its view of the city.

"The setting is so peaceful," said Reed. "This is a very popular cemetery for walkers."

Reed said this cemetery isn't grim or dreadful, it's simply a place for remembrance.

"These monuments are very evocative, and I think it just gives you a sense of what's gone," said Reed.

The Latah County Historical Society (LCHS) is hosting their next tour of the Moscow Cemetery on Sunday, September 22nd. Reed will take participants through the oldest section of the cemetery. The tour will begin at the cemetery near Sexton's chapel at 2:00 p.m. Admission is $8 for LCHS members, and $20 for non-members.