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click here for a print-friendly version of this pageThe City of Colfax, county seat for Whitman County, is named for Schuyler Colfax, vice president of Ulysses S. Grant. The city’s location is the natural result of the intersection of two rivers and three systems of rails. The first significant industry was logging and lumber milling, but ranching and wheat farming soon followed and a flour mill was added.

The arrival of people to Colfax came relatively late in the settlement of the west, in the late eighteen sixties, by which time Oregon and the Puget Sound had been settled. Colfax was incorporated in 1873. While Colfax failed to get the state land grant college, which ended up in Pullman, it did have the good fortune to be named the county seat. The combination of retail and service businesses and government entities continues to this day.

The topography of the area is a vast region of steep rolling hills whose shape suggested to geologists the name "mammalian," a term more urbanely tasteful than the name given by French trappers to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. The structure of the hills is called aeolean, meaning formed by wind. The soil type is "loess," specifically Palouse loess. It was blown in as dust off the retreating glaciers from the last ice age, about fifteen thousand years ago. The earth is rich and deep, with top soil up to a hundred feet thick. The system of hills is known as the Palouse Hills and the area as the Palouse.

The Palouse is named after the Palouse Indians, a small tribe indigenous to the region that is affiliated with the Nez Perce tribe. The somewhat romanticized horse breed called the Appaloosa originated with these Indians, hence the name "a palouse"—"of the Palouse."

The first white settlers in the area claimed the vast acres of tall bunch grass as grazing land. Because of the relatively low rainfall (about 16 inches annually) it was not taken seriously as farm land. Only the river bottoms and areas watered by springs were originally cultivated. In the 70s and 80s, influenced by immigrants from Eastern Europe who were familiar with similar climatic conditions, farmers began cultivating the Palouse hills and growing winter wheat, a crop that was planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. The Palouse country had found its destiny. With the development of mechanized farming techniques, the Palouse produces enormous crops and farming units have developed into hundreds and even thousands of acres.

Wheat is now one of Washington State’s largest cash crops. The region is also now a world leader in the production of peas, lentils and barley.

The end of the last glacial period left behind another dramatic feature of terrain. Melting glaciers across the Northwest US and southern Canada filled a vast reservoir of water that covered most of present Montana west of the rocky Mountains which geologists called Primitive Lake Missoula. It is described as the largest body of fresh water that ever existed. The lake was impounded in interior Montana by a glacial ice dam in the present day Idaho Panhandle. When this ice plug broke about fifteen thousand years ago, an epic flood was released. It tore a gash north to south through Washington, following the western side of Whitman County. The force and volume of the water gouged and ripped enormous canyons through the basalt bed rock, leaving what is called the channeled scab lands. A striking and dramatic example of this is Palouse Falls, an easy drive west of Colfax. The water falls over two hundred feet into a cirque surrounded by sheer basaltic canyons. Similar canyon walls are frequent throughout Whitman County. Interspersed with the comfortably rolling Palouse Hills, it is easy to think of this landscape as quintessentially western.

Colfax, in fact, retains a distinctly western character. Its citizens are friendly and have a generally outdoorsy orientation. In season, hunting is popular (deer, pheasant, chukars, partridge) and fishing is a local passion. Besides many lakes with trout, the Snake river is about 20 miles from town where there is year-around fishing.

Colfax is also popular with retirees. It has the small town advantage of quiet and pleasant neighborhoods and the convenience of a hospital and medical center, convalescent center, retirement condominium community and assisted living apartments. There is also a golf course, bowling alley, a number of parks, swimming pool, playing fields and a walking/jogging path. The downtown provides retail stores, legal and service establishments and several restaurants—from Arby’s, Taco Time and Subway to a collection of local restaurants offering pizza, Chinese, Mexican and down home American fare.

Pullman, 16 miles south, is the site of Washington State University and gives Colfax proximity to a large campus with a variety of theatrical, musical and athletic events.

Excerpted from http://www.ci.colfax.wa.u

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Bike MS Inland Northwest comes to Kellogg, ID, Sept. 13-14
Bike MS Inland Northwest: Cycle the Silver Valley, comes to Kellogg, Idaho, on September 13 and 14. One of the premier cycling events in the Northwest, Bike MS features 20- to 100-mile route options for all levels of experience along with a festival atmosphere, great food, music, a beer garden and a Saturday evening rally. A minimum of $200 in fundraising is required to participate. Funds support research, programs and services for nearly 15,000 people living with multiple sclerosis across the Northwest. For more information or to register, go to bikeMSnorthwest.org or call the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Northwest Chapter at 509-482-2022.
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Upcoming Events - Add your own events!

3/1/2014 -  Moscow Mardi Gras 2014
(recurring until 3/2/2014)
Daytime Mardi Gras features the Moscow Mardi Gras Parade (11 a.m.) and Kid's Mardi Gras (10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) in downtown Moscow. Moscow Mardi Gras, Inc. is a non-profit organization which raises money for local children’s organizations and distributes the funds via grants by providing day-long festivities annually on the first Saturday in March and culminating with a festive musical experience in downtown Moscow, Idaho. This year's bands are Sweatshop Union, Soul Siren, McTuff, Bare Wires and the Fabulous Kingpins starting at 9 p.m. Down North and Simba and the Exceptional Africans will be playing all-ages shows starting at 8 p.m. Like us on Facebook or see the webpage for details and locations.

Related Website:  http://www.moscowmardigras.com
6/24/2014 - 8/31/2014 -  Local Host Families Needed For Exchange Students
Please publicize our PSA. Best Regards, Cindy Keeney ASSE Western Regional Office 1-800-733-2773 ASSE International Student Exchange Programs (ASSE) is seeking local host families for boys and girls from a variety of countries around the world. These students are 15 to 18 years of age, and would like to come to this area for the upcoming high school year or semester. These personable and academically select exchange students are conversant in English, are bright, curious and anxious to learn about this country through living as part of a family, attending high school and sharing their own culture and language with their newly adopted host family. Those persons interested in obtaining more information about becoming a host family should call toll free: 1-800-733-2773 or go to www.host.asse.com. There are many students to choose from, so call and begin the process of selecting your new son or daughter today! ​

Related Website:  http://www.host.asse.com
7/21/2014 - 7/25/2014 -  Wonder Works Day Camp
Wonder Works is a FREE summer day camp for kids! Held July 21 – 25, 2014 at 9 AM – 12 PM at The Yellow House (at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse), 420 East Second Street, Moscow, ID. We welcome ALL children ages 7 – 11 regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Join us for arts & crafts, science activities, yoga for kids, nature exploration, and more! Each day will be based on a different theme (themes include: "Uniquely You", "Helping Hands" and "Taking Care of Our World"). A mid-morning snack will be provided. Wonder Works is staffed by caring, experienced volunteers from our community. CPR/First Aid certified. Space is limited. Please register by June 15th at: www.humanistsofthepalouse.org/daycamp For more information visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wonderworksdaycamp QUESTIONS? Call Janny Stratichuk at 208-301-3478 or email: jstratichuk@americanhumanist.org

Related Website:  http://www.facebook.com/wonderworksdaycamp
7/27/2014 -  LCHS Ice Cream Social
Sundae, sundae, SUNDAE! Join the Latah County Historical Society for a summer afternoon of delicious ice cream sundaes and family fun at the McConnell Mansion. Meet us on the Mansion lawn on Sunday, July 27th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Listen to the music of Undiscovered Country while enjoying activities like the water balloon toss, and horse and wagon rides. Demonstrations will be given by the WSU Raptors, the Appaloosa Lace Makers, and the Hog Heaven Muzzle Loaders. House tours and a new Caddie Woodlawn exhibit will are among this year’s highlights. Join us for all of this and much more! Ice cream sundaes and watermelon are on the house. This event is free and open to the public. The McConnell Mansion is located at 110 South Adams Street. For more information, email lchslibrary@latah.id.us, or call (208) 882-1004.

Related Website:  http://www.latahcountyhistoricalsociety.org
7/31/2014 -  Idaho’s New Fast Forward Program Provides Students Funding For Their Future
Idaho’s Fast Forward program allows every high school junior up to $200 a year and high school seniors up to $400 a year. These funds can cover up to 75% of the cost of taking dual credit courses, college bearing exams, or professional-technical exams. Come and learn more about Fast Forward on July 31st at the University of Idaho in Renfrew Hall, Classroom 126. This is a great opportunity for students to get funding for their future.

Related Website: 
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