Road Side Attraction #1

Old Mission State Park is the site of the Cataldo Mission in Cataldo Idaho. It is an oasis of tranquility just off the roar and busyness of highway 90. The church itself is a peaceful place to sit awhile, but if sitting in a historic church isn’t your thing, the surrounding grounds, with views to the surrounding mountains and valleys is a pleasant break from traveling.  The history of Cataldo is fascinating, it was a hub of activity, the central hamlet and portage for this growing mining area of Idaho.

A brief bit of history from Wikipedia:

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 Duet 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 is named after Giuseppe Cataldo, a Sicilian priest born in the village of Terrasini, who spent most of his life in the frontier community.

In time the mission became an important stop for traders, settlers, and miners taking on the role as a hospitality and supply station. It was also a working port for boats heading up the Coeur d’Alene River.[3]

In 1961 it was designated a National Historic Landmark,[4] and in 1966 it was put on the National Register of Historic Places.

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