It was reported by early settlers that five men in the area met to choose a proper name for the town, but could not come to agreement on a name.
The postmaster Samuel Neff then completed the official papers for the town and selected the name Moscow.
Along with the rest of northern Idaho, Moscow is in the Pacific Time Zone, the elevation of its city center is 2,579 feet (786 m) above sea level.
Major highways serving the city are US-95 (north-south) and ID-8 (east-west), both of which are routed through central Moscow.
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The abundance of camas bulbs, a favorite fodder of pigs brought by the farmers, led to naming the vicinity "Hog Heaven." When the first US post office opened in 1872, the town was called "Paradise Valley," but the name was changed to "Moscow" in 1875.
The name Paradise persists with the main waterway through town, Paradise Creek, which originates at the west end of the Palouse Range, flows south to the Troy Highway, and west to Pullman where it enters the South Fork of the Palouse River.