Saint Joseph Mission
Saint Joseph Mission (1868-1958) - A Catholic mission established in 1868 by Jesuit Father Joseph M. Cataldo on the Nez Perce Reservation in Lewis County, Idaho. Closed in 1958.
Father Joseph M. Cataldo arrived in the Lewiston Idaho area in 1867 and was successful in establishing a small Catholic chapel on the Nez Perce reservation. This was the first Roman Catholic mission to serve the Nez Perce people although there were Protestant churches nearby.
A more permanent location was established with the construction of Saint Joseph Mission at a more secluded site. The new mission was dedicated on 8 Sep 1874 and by 1877 a school had been established.
In June 1877 the Nez Perce War began with nontreaty bands refusing to give up their lands. The war was quickly over with Chief Joseph surrendering in October 1877. The war created resentment even among treaty Indians and adversely affected missionary activity for some time.
By 1910, Saint Joseph Mission grounds included a convent, children's dorms, and a church building. The children's dorms were destroyed by fires in 1916 and again in 1925. Father Cataldo died in 1928 and the Mission closed in 1958.
A part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park, the chapel has been preserved and is still standing but overgrown. The chapel is privately owned and is not open to the public.
Visited: 21 Jul 2017