Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park Idaho , United States


Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park is a heritage site in the western United States, located in northern Idaho. It preserves the Mission of the Sacred Heart, also known as Cataldo Mission, which is a national historic landmark. The park includes the church, parish house, and the surrounding property. Constructed between 1850 and 1853, the Mission of the Sacred Heart is the oldest standing building in Idaho. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

In 1831, the Nez Perce and Flathead people, curious about Christianity, sent six men to St. Louis for more information. Four arrived successfully. Father Pierre-Jean De Smet responded to their request in 1842, along with Fr. Nicholas Point and Br. Charles Huet, who helped choose a mission location along the St. Joe River. However, due to flooding, it was relocated in 1846.

In 1850, Italian Jesuit missionary Antonio Ravalli took charge of the church, initiating the construction of a new mission building. The Indians themselves built it using the wattle and daub method, finishing it three years later without nails. Named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the site was renamed Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Locally, it’s mistakenly referred to as the “Cataldo” Mission, influenced by Father Giuseppe Cataldo, who spent much of his life in the area and founded Gonzaga University in Spokane. Serving as a stop and supply station for traders, settlers, and miners on the Mullan Road, the mission was also a working port for boats on the Coeur d’Alene River.

In 1976, a significant restoration of the church was selected as Idaho State’s Bicentennial Project to mark the nation’s bicentennial.

The Old Sacred Heart Mission of the Coeur d’Alene tribe, with its striking Baroque facade, sits proudly atop a hill overlooking Interstate 90 in northern Idaho. This architectural marvel has intrigued travelers for generations, questioning why such an elaborate structure was erected in such a remote locale. Over a century ago, it captivated passersby along the nineteenth-century Mullan Road, serving settlers, miners, and Indigenous people. As the oldest building in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest’s oldest remaining mission church, its construction was a feat of ingenuity, utilizing local materials and labor. Designed by an Italian Jesuit, it was intended to be a place of spiritual significance for the Indigenous Schitsu’umsh people, known to French trappers as the Coeur d’Alenes. The mission, established as the second Jesuit mission in the area, saw its origins in a meeting between Coeur d’Alene Chief Twisted Earth and Father Pierre-Jean De Smet. The church’s construction was led by Father Antonio Ravalli, utilizing materials like fieldstone, wood, and grasses, with the help of Coeur d’Alene men, women, and children. Despite challenges and setbacks, including floods and structural collapses, the mission was completed by 1853, impressing visitors with its grandeur even in an unfinished state. The architecture, blending Baroque and Greek Revival elements, stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of the Indigenous community and Jesuit missionaries. Today, the Old Sacred Heart Mission remainsa cherished symbol for the Coeur d’Alene people, serving as both a historical landmark and a spiritual sanctuary.

Mission Area

The walls were adorned with fabric purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company, along with a hand-painted newspaper from Philadelphia that Fr. Ravalli had received. Tin cans were repurposed to resemble chandeliers. Fr. Ravalli carved both wooden statues with a knife, aiming to mimic marble. The blue hue on the interior wood came from pressed huckleberries stains.

Parish House

After being burned down, it was rebuilt in 1887. It is a two-story building, with the upstairs used for sleeping quarters. It contains a smaller chapel, mostly used for daily Mass.

State Park

The surrounding property has two cemeteries, a nature trail, and a visitors center. The site became Old Mission State Park in 1975 through a long-term lease with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise.

Church Visiting Hours

  • Monday to Sunday : 10:00 am to 03:00 pm

Contact Info

31732 S Mission Rd,
ID 83810,
United States

Phone No.




The nearest major airport to the Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park is the Spokane International Airport in Washington. Which is 40 miles away from the Church.


The nearest Railway to the Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park is Eastern Idaho Railroad, Which is 610 miles Away from the Church

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