Idaho’s Old Mission State Park

S. Mission Rd., Cataldo, Idaho The former Jesuit mission that is the focal point of this park is the oldest

Old Mission State Park, Idaho
Dating from the early 1850s, this European-style Jesuit mission is Idaho’s oldest building. Its framework is made of rough-hewn logs.

S. Mission Rd., Cataldo, Idaho

The former Jesuit mission that is the focal point of this park is the oldest building in Idaho. It was built between 1850 and 1853 by members of the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe under the direction of Father Anthony Ravalli, and its design reflects a pragmatic blend of Old World ideals and the building materials available in the Idaho wilderness.

The walls of the mission are rough-hewn logs covered with a wattle and daub lattice. In 1865, after a sawmill was built on the mission’s grounds, siding and in-terior paneling were added, which made the walls 18 inches thick. European-style chandeliers were fashioned from tin cans, and wooden altars and crosses were painted to imitate gilt and marble. Many of the wall hangings were made of cloth from the Hudson Bay Trading Post, and others were made by painting newspapers. A thriving Coeur d’Alene farming village was established at the mission, and many Native Americans lived here until the tribe was forced onto a reservation in 1877.

Open year-round. Admission charged.

www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov

(208) 682-3814

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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