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Moscow Borough

Moscow Borough Hall is located at 123 Van Brunt Street, Moscow PA 18444; phone: 570-842-1699.

Beginnings [1]

To Rev. Peter Rupert, a Lutheran minister, Moscow owes its start. 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 co-religionists 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 Emmeline 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 saw 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 a 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 later 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.

  1. Murphy, Thomas, Commemorative of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Lackawanna County Pennsylvania, Volume One, Historical Publishing Company, Indianapolis, 1928.
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