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History of Moscow

Welcome to the History page for Moscow, Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to preserving and sharing Moscow’s history.
 
My name is Brian Shaffer and I am the Founder of the North Pocono Historical Society. Due to the popularity of the historical society and my vast knowledge of the history of the area, i was made the official historian of Moscow. 

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The following is quoted from Thomas Murphy's 1928 History of Lackawanna County:

 (Remember that references to now or today refer to 1928 and do not necessarily reflect life in 2003.)

 

Moscow owes its start to Rev Peter Rupert, a Lutheran minister. Some four years after the opening of the Drinker turnpike, 1830 to be more exact, Mr. Rupert built his log house on the village site, then owned by him. Early settlers, it is said, were Russians, probably coreligionists of Rev Rupert and the town takes its name from Russia's old capital. George Swartz, a shoemaker who had worked at his trade along the turnpike, located near Rupert not long after the clergyman had erected his modest log hut. Swartz's own habitation occupied in May, 1830, was no more pretentious. The Swartz home was located where later Edward Simpson built a fine home. Swartz's daughter Emeline was the first girl married in the village, being united in 1852 to Leander T Griffin, the pioneer merchant, whose first store stood opposite the depot. Rev Rupert in 1831 built a sawmill, conducted a tavern in his old log house, later erecting a frame dwelling. He sold his holdings to the Lackawanna Iron & Coal Co, in 1850. His name however, is still perpetuated by Rupert Hill where the cemetery and Old Catholic church is located along the Lackawanna trail.

 

Lumbering and agriculture was the chief occupation of the people of Moscow in the early days of the settlement. Lumbering particularly was given an impetus with the building of the railroad through the town. Rupert's mill sufficed for all purposes until 1855 when Storms & Gardner started an operation. E Heermans later acquired possession of this mill. C P Van Brunt was the third mill owner with a plant west of the village proper. The original mills were operated by water power. William E Dodge is credited with having the first steam mill located on the site later owned by Rev N G Parke, of Pittston. The Dodge mill was destroyed by fire.

 

Moscow's central location in Covington Township made it available for a grist mill. Covington and other nearby townships at the time had to depend on the mill at Slocum Hollow and Pittston. In 1836 Levi Depew met the situation by putting up a modest mill. Joseph Potter rebuilt and enlarged it, later selling to E Ehrgood, who put up a new mill about 1873 and operated it for many years. H L Gaige & Co, erected steam grist mill on Mill Street in 1873. This was later operated by Gaige & Clement. Mr. Gaige was a member of the first board of commissioners of Lackawanna County.

 

A post office was established in Moscow in 1852 with Leander L Griffin in charge. His store and post office was located in the late site of the store of O E Vaughan, who in turn was postmaster for several years. George Swartz carried mail from Moscow to Clifton. John La Touche was the first station agent. A stage line between Scranton and Stroudsburg over the turnpike began in 1846. Dr C J Wilbur was the first physician and druggist. Dr C Frischkarn, from Covington however had an extensive practice in the village from 1850. William and Roswell Noble next to old Peter Rupert were the earliest tavern keepers opening a public house, corner of Main & Church streets in 1856. Fire destroyed the hotel in 1867. Swartz & Townsend were one time proprietors. Lyman Dixon built the Valley house in 1873. In 1859 Martin Reap built and conducted the Moscow house. William Dale and Edward Simpson purchased Leander Griffin's store in 1856. Smith & Dale succeeded in 1862. Fire eventually put an end to the business. Joseph Loveland at an early date built between the Moscow house and Peltons. The Loveland store was burned in March, 1870. Gaige & Clements succeeded Yeager & Gaige who started business in 1857. The year 1879 saw Tunslatt & Pelton in the general store business and in 1877 B F Summerhill opened his dry goods store on Mill Street.

 

The first school house erected in 1838 was used also for church purposes. Elijah Depew was the first teacher. The site of the school was that occupied later by Gaige & Clements store on Mill Street. This structure was in use until 1872. At first Moscow Methodists went to Daleville where a society had been formed in 1826. In 1836 meetings were held in Joseph Loveland's house on Daleville road and next in Rupert's Tavern. In 1853 a church was erected. During the early life of the society it was in the Philadelphia conference, later known as the Madison mission of the Honesdale district, Wyoming Conference. Rev. Charles White was pastor at the time the church was built. A new church has replaced the old structure.

 

Rev. Moses Whitty, while pastor of St Vincent's Church, Scranton, frequently said mass in a private house or hall in Moscow. After Dunmore became a parish, Moscow was a mission. St. Catherine's Church was erected on Rupert's hill in 1872. In 1884 Moscow became a parish and included all the territory from Delaware Gap to Dunmore. Today [1928] there are a full dozen churches and half as many parishes in the territory. Rev. M.J. Manley was the first pastor of St. Catherine's. A cemetery was in the churchyard. Within recent years a new cemetery has been established nearby. Many Catholic families from Scranton have purchased lots in this new burial place which is being developed into one of the most beautiful spots of its kind in the county. A few years ago a new Catholic church was dedicated. This is located near the village proper.

 

Moscow has an unusual group of fraternal societies including a lodge of Masons constituted April 12, 1872; Odd Fellows, instituted March 30, 1870, which has a hall of its own; Red Men, Sons of Veterans, P.O.S. of A., and Junior Order. Chaplain T.D. Swartz Post, G.A.R., is located in Moscow.

 

Moscow for many years drew many summer visitors. The town is one of the most promising in the county. Within easy commuting distance of Scranton, Moscow has attracted many people from that city in recent years. To provide needed improvements, found difficult while part of the township, Moscow sought a borough charter in 1908. W.B. Miller was elected the first burgess. The town at that time had about 1,200 inhabitants. The First National Bank, of Moscow, was chartered the year following the incorporation of the town and began business in March, 1910. A fire company was also organized about the same time. Rebuilding of the Lackawanna Railroad system, wiping out of the principal grade crossing, some 20 years ago, materially altered the layout of the town and resulted in a greater development of Main Street (Lackawanna Trail), as a business thoroughfare.

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