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Old Mission State Park, Cataldo

The Silver Valley's Old Mission State Park is a state park and National Historic Landmark in North Idaho, USA. It is also known as the Mission of the Sacred Heart or Cataldo Mission. It contains the church itself, the parish house, and the surrounding property. Built 1850-53, Mission of the Sacred Heart is the oldest standing building in Idaho.
In the early 19th century, the Coeur d'Alene Indians had heard of these powerful "medicine men" in black robes with a book and wanted some of these men for their own tribe. They sent men east to St. Louis, and in 1842 Father Pierre-Jean De Smet responded to the request and came to the area. Fr. Nicholas Point and Br. Charles Huet came and helped to pick a mission location. The first was along the St. Joe River, but was subject to flooding. In 1846 they moved it to the current location.
In 1850 the church was taken over by Italian Jesuit missionary Antonio Ravalli, who began designing the new mission building. He made sure that the building was constructed by the Indians themselves, so that they could feel part of the church. It was built using the wattle and daub method, and finished some three years later without using a single nail.
The mission was named after the Sacred Heart Of Jesus and the spot endearingly has been renamed the Coeur d'Alenes Old Mission State Park by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. A misnomer locally is to refer to the whole Mission as the "Cataldo" mission. This term cropped up in the area due to the fame of Father Giuseppe Cataldo, a Sicilian priest born in the village of Terrasini, who spent most of his life in the frontier community and founded Gonzaga University. The nearest town to the Mission is Cataldo, Idaho.
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Old Mission State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
65 reviews
  • We were at the Old Mission for a wedding. What a cool venue! If you are into history at all, stop and check this place out! After the wedding ceremony, we walked around looking at the building and we ...  more »
  • We'd been here decades ago, stopped again and there was more to enjoy. We didn't know there had been priests buried under the church (but have since been reburied elsewhere).  more »
  • A large old mission that you can wander the grounds freely on. Unique old buildings and architecture. Terrific views of surrounding areas. The visiting center has an Indian Sacred Encounters Culture exhibit that has tons of history of the area from all perspectives. Easily spend a few hours just touring the exhibit.
  • Enjoyable, especially for history buffs. Their 17 minute video it's worth watching (free); it's a good balance historically (not over sided). It could be updated to HD. The grounds were mostly well kept. The staff was nice. The AC in the customer center in nice. Recommended.

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Duration: 2​h

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