Tuesday, March 8, 2011

     It was in 1863 that the Idaho territory was birthed at which time Cataldo Mission had been well established for a ten year period. Pioneers Jesuit priests and brothers had coordinated the building process over a span of several years time. The Cataldo Mission is said to be a reflection of phenomenal Jesuit skill and exceptional training. The reason being is that all these Jesuit pioneers had to work with was a few simple tools and lay Amerindian labor. One of the major distinctions of the Cataldo Mission is how they managed to build such an awesome structure under the conditions of the time and equipped with the simple tools they had to work with. [1] Cataldo Mission is infamously known as the oldest building in the state of Idaho yet boasts an elegance modeled under a Greek Revival architectural style. Relative to the times and what Jesuit founders were working with the structure is an absolute phenomenon and still stands today very much in tact.

"Today's residents marvel that such an edifice could be built under the existing conditions."[2]

     Details of the architectural structure include uprights which are 18 square inches, and rafters that are 10 square inches each carved with a simple whipsaw and shaped by hand and board axe. The Cataldo Mission is 90 feet long by 40 feet wide with a height of 30 feet. The generous lumber was taken from nearby forests while rocks were carried long distances for creation of the foundation. Amerindian lay labor hauled these rocks from afar to lay the foundation for Cataldo Mission. There were no nails used as they were not readily available at the time. Instead of nails wooden pegs were inserted into bored holes.[3] The huge forested terrain was an advantage giving the builders a generous supply of lumber. The Jesuit pioneers took advantage of the tremendous local timber supply and created a marvelous structure.

"Huge timbers were cut for the floor, six large columns to support the roof of the porch were placed in pedestals and steps leading to the porch were split logs hewed from large trees."[4]

     Amerindians worked together with Jesuit pioneers using enormous hand-hewn logs. These enormous logs were taken from nearby forests, latticed with saplings, woven with grass and caked with mud. This wattle and daub method was used as the builders created a mission without using any nails in the process. The walls for the Cataldo Mission were built more than a foot in thickness. The architect Father Ravalli hand painted newspaper and used it to decor the interior walls of the mission. Other decor for the interior walls consisted of fabric that was supplied by the Hudson Bay Company in Fort Walla Walla. Empty tin cans were used to create synthetic European chandeliers, and local pinewood was carved to create gilded crosses. The alters were made from wood and painted with veins to create a synthetic marble alter. Settlers, miners, and militia used Cataldo Mission as a supply station and place of refuge. The mission was a farm and also a small port on the Coeur d' Alene River. Miners, railroad employees, and pipeline workers traveled by boat on the Coeur d' Alene River stopping in at the Cataldo Mission as a small port.[5]

     Modern Amerindian reservation families consider Cataldo Mission and surrounding geographical region to be their ancestral homeland. In late summer every year Coeur d' Alene Amerindian tribal members make a trip and congregate at the Cataldo Mission region. It is here that the annual Feast of the Assumption is held by the Coeur d' Alene Amerindian tribe. Cataldo Mission was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1963. It was in 1962 that Cataldo Mission became a National Historic Landmark. Cataldo Mission became a state historic site and park in 1975. Cataldo Mission also known as Old Mission State Park or Sacred Heart Mission stands today as the original mission building created in 1853. The parishioners quarters was created in 1887 and is an integral part of Cataldo Mission. Also at Cataldo Mission is a modern visitors center of 9,000 square feet in diameter. Inside of the visitors center are interpretive displays giving the history of Cataldo Mission.[6] Present day Cataldo Mission is widely known and accessible for tourists.

     There are plans for development at the Cataldo Mission historical landmark. A non-profit organization has been working with Coeur d' Alene Amerindians, state parks and recreation, and the local community. It was this non-profit organization that developed the visitor center and other upgrades. The name of this agency who is actively involved in the development of Cataldo Mission is the Association for Sacred Encounters. A new exhibit called Sacred Encounters will be displayed in 2011. It is said to be an exemplary exhibit displaying the work of Father De Smet among Amerindians in the Rocky Mountain area.[7] The 9,000 square foot visitors center was just recently created by the Sacred Encounters agency. They are actively working to develop Cataldo Mission as a historical landmark and state park. The Sacred Encounters exhibit will be displayed in 2011 and is said to be an award winning exhibition.


[1] Ruralnorthwest.com, Cataldo Mission is older than Idaho, Coeur d' Alene Press, Centennial Edition, 1963. Pg 3 Found at: http://www.ruralnorthwest.com/artman/publish/article_4542.shtml

[2] Ruralnorthwest.com

[3] Ruralnorthwest.com

[4] Ruralnorthwest.com

[5] State of Idaho Parks and Recreation, Coeur d' Alene's Oldm Mission State Park Found at: http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/oldmission.aspx

[6] State of Idaho Parks and Recreation

[7] Sate of Idaho Parks and Recreation


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

 Parishioners quarters office area
                                                              Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2853201070075437549gpWMjl

    Parishioners quarters chapel area
                                                                Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2378312810075437549qFdEYk

     At Cataldo Mission the parishioners quarters was the center of action.  The parishioners quarters was home to members of the Society of Jesus as well as Jesuit fathers as they ministered to settlers and Coeur d' Alene American Indians.  Here is a picture of the parishioners quarters as it is preserved in the present day.
                                                                         Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2306670480075437549OWbQTr

     Here is the confessional.  Included to the right of the confessional is a portrait of the passion of the christ whose frame was carved by Brother Francis Huybrechts.  Incorporated throughout the Cataldo Mission is a series of fourteen of these portraits depicting the passion of the christ.
                                                                      Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2709609100075437549XIhhOg

Organ inside Cataldo Mission
                                                                    Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2731900080075437549Qikjlk

Left alter in the Cataldo Mission
                                                                         Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2335977440075437549gBEGHP  

Cataldo Mission has both a right side and a left side alter.  Here is the right side alter.                                                                        
                                                                        Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2192122640075437549lEorvq

                                                        The main alter
                                                                      Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2098795150075437549FOtFXQ

     Here is the interior view of Cataldo Mission.  Brother Magri assisted Father Ravalli in the building of Cataldo.  The ceiling panels are designed distinctively from one another and were carved by brother Francis Huybrechts.  Horizontal timbers were morticed into the uprights and wood pegs were utilized throughout the project giving further security to the structure.  
                                                                        Found at:  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2314292270075437549IWKlhN

      Cataldo Mission is also known as Old Mission State Park, or Mission of the Sacred Heart and was built between 1848 and 1853.  It consists of the mission itself and a parishioners quarters on a plot of acres.  The grassy knoll area is intended for tourist picnics while the visitor center displays an interpretive exhibit.  The walls have no nails and are one foot in thickness.  Straw, mud and woven pegs were used in building Cataldo Mission in what is called the wattle and daub method.  It was in 1975 that Cataldo Mission officially became a state park.  It is said that in excess of three hundred Coeur d' Alene American Indians worked together with Jesuit missionaries to build Cataldo Mission.  The elegant structure is a testament to the trained skill of the architect Father Ravalli as he used lay labor and simple tools in the building process.  
Found at:  http://www.ohwy.com/id/o/oldmiisp.htm

                                         Cataldo Mission bell
                                Found at:  http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2612419830094048689BtDzkO

       Cataldo Mission was standing when Idaho territory was created about 100 years ago.  All of the wood lumber used was cut and hauled from the neighboring forests.  Lay labor hauled rocks for use in the mission's foundation.  Enormous timbers were used in the floor and six pillars/columns in support of the porch roof.  Split logs were used in the front steps.  Statues and trimmings were carefully carved by brother Huybrechts and Father Ravalli.  Cataldo Mission served as a hospitality center for settlers, a supply reserve, and a small port located on the Coeur d' Alene River.  The initial location on the Saint Joe River was subjected to routine flooding sparking a move to the current location on the Coeur d' Alene River.  Here is the ceiling hued a bluish decor by using berry juice as a wood stain.
                   Found at:  http://kelloggidahohistory.wordpress.com/cataldo-mission/

       Depiction of Cataldo Mission created by Gustavus Sohon
                                    Found at:  http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/soldier/siteb3.htm

     Father Cataldo is infamously known particularly in Southern Italy where he is especially popular.  In excess of one hundred and fifty churches are dedicated to Father Cataldo in Italy where he is known as Saint Cathaldas.  The latin form of the name Cataldo is Cathaldas.  There is also a town in Sicily named San Cataldo after Father Cataldo.  Father Cataldo was the founder of Gonzaga Jesuit college in Spokane, WA.  The original Cataldo Mission was actually built under the supervision of Father Pierre DeSmet who also coordinated the change of location.  Father DeSmet was a member of Society of Jesus.  It seems as though Father DeSmet did much of the work in the field while Father Cataldo was the Patriarch of the Rocky Mountain missionary work.  This is a statue created in tribute to Father Cataldo.
                                                        Found at:  http://www.anglerguide.com/articles/18b.html

 “The country and the American Indians are mainly indebted to the zealous labor of Reverend Father de Smet in establishing all these missions for he truly is the great father of all Rocky Mountain missionaries.” [1
[1] Captain John Mullan USA, Report on the Construction of a Military Road from Fort Walla-Walla to Fort Benton, Washington (City): Government Printing Office, 1863, 53

     The Cataldo Mission is located in Cataldo, Idaho.  A Jesuit father Antonio Ravalli was the architect who designed Cataldo Mission as a replica of traditional Italian cathedrals.  The phenomenon called Cataldo Mission is a testament to the trained skill of Mr. Ravalli as Jesuits and Coeur d' Alene American Indians used very simple tools and lay labor to build the Cataldo Mission.  The dome/apse was an elegant feature of Cataldo Mission attributing European characteristics and nostalgia.  Fabric was obtained at Fort Walla Walla from the Hudson Bay Company and used for decor on the inside walls of Cataldo Mission.  The wooden altars were painted and adorned to give a remarkable similarity to the qualities of marble altars.  The wattle and daub method was used in building the original structure.  The tools available to the builders were axe, auger, pulleys, pen knife, and a whip saw.  This architectural style was known as Greek revival.
                             Found at:  http://www.idptv.state.id.us/buildingbig/domes/cataldo.html

     Within the Cataldo Mission chapel are two wood statues that were carved by knife.  The viewer can identify the apse in the forefront of the inner sanctuary.  This apse structure is a common relic of Greek style architecture.
                  Found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataldo_Mission
     The Hudson Bay Company supplied fabric to decorate the inner walls of Cataldo Mission.  Berry juice was originally used to hue the interior wood with a blue appearance, and these Chandeliers were created by the use of tin cans.  The Coeur d' Alene American Indians were very active and contributed to the labor in building the Cataldo Mission.
                          Found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataldo_Mission

       Cataldo Mission is an official state park and National Historic Landmark also referred to as Mission of the Sacred Heart or Old Mission State Park.  Present day Cataldo Mission consists of a church building and parishioner’s quarters on a reserved preservation of acres.  It is located in Cataldo, Idaho and was originally built in 1848.  An architect named Antonio Ravalli designed the Greek Revival/colonial structure.  Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet with a little help originally scouted out the location in 1842 when he chose the original location of Cataldo Mission on the Saint Joe River.  The original location on the Saint Joe River was subjected to flooding sparking a move to the Coeur d' Alene River in 1846 where the Cataldo Mission still stands in Cataldo, Idaho infamously known as the oldest building in the state of Idaho.  Traders, settlers, and miners used Cataldo Mission as a supply station and also as a small port located on the Coeur d' Alene River.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

     Jesuits arrived in the early 1840's scouting out the location for Cataldo Mission which was originally established on the Saint Joe River.  The original location on the Saint Joe River was subjected to flooding sparking a movement to the current location on Coeur d' Alene River.  In excess of three hundred Coeur d' Alene American Indians worked together with Jesuits contributing their labor in building Cataldo Mission.
                                           Found at: http://www.visitidaho.org/thingstodo/view-attraction.aspx?id=30626

     Cataldo Mission also referred to as Mission of the Sacred Heart or Old Mission State Park is the oldest standing building in the state of Idaho.  Coeur d' Alene American Indians worked together with Jesuit missionaries to build Cataldo Mission between 1850 and 1853.  Present day Cataldo Mission consists of the Sacred Heart Mission building and parishioners quarters located on a reserved preservation of acres.  There is also a visitors center where tourists can access a gift shop and a historical interpretive documentary.
Found at:  http://www.spokaneoutdoors.com/cataldo.htm

Coeur d’ Alene Mission encompassed approximately 200 acres, which was originally heavily utilized for agricultural production.   Architectural structures included several buildings, one church, and one “horse powered” flourmill.  The livestock on this mission totaled 20 cows, 8 yokes of oxen, 100 pigs, and more.  [1] The Coeur d’ Alene Mission was the most widely accessed and well known of the Jesuit missions in the inland Northwest.  The original Coeur d’ Alene/Cataldo mission was founded at the place of council following the colonel Steptoe conflict.  It was this location that eventually developed into the Coeur d' Alene/Cataldo mission.  John Mullan and his crew operated from this location utilizing it as a place of refuge.  This Cataldo mission was originally developed back in 1842.  It was right on St Joe River until later being relocated to the Coeur d’ Alene River.  It was due to flooding and other geographical complications that the Cataldo mission was relocated to the Coeur d’ Alene River.  [2] The Coeur d’ Alene Mission was easily accessible making it an ideal place for emigrants to seek refuge.  Steamboats could chug along the St Joe River to reach the mission directly from Coeur d’ Alene.  To this day the mission stands in Idaho as the “oldest building” in the state.  [3] In today’s modern world you can travel along interstate 90 and exit at “Old Mission State Park”.  The yearly influx of tourists is in the range of 100,000 people.  In the coming year of 2015 the Coeur d’ Alene tribe will obtain the title for “Old Mission”.  [4]
The tribe of the Coeur d’ Alene was one of the native populations who worked together with missionaries.   At the time there were approximately 300 Coeur d’ Alenes the majority of who lived at the Coeur d’ Alene mission.  The Coeur d’ Alenes who did not live directly at the mission stayed nearby on the Coeur d’ Alene and St Joseph Rivers.  Their property consisted of houses, cattle, and canoes as they worked collaboratively with missionaries to develop in a way that would help them to adjust and co-exist with the developing world.  Also these Coeur d’ Alenes appeared to maintain good relations with other tribes as they embarked on joint hunting missions, which traversed the Rocky Mountains. One of the goals of the missionaries was to develop agriculture and other production amongst American Indian tribes.  Agriculture and production were pragmatic skills for tribes, as the Coeur d’ Alene tribe collaborated with Jesuit missionaries. [5]

[1] Hubert Bancroft, History of Washington Idaho and Montana 1845-1889, Bancroft Works volume 31, San Francisco, The History Company, 1890,  #18 found at: (http://www.accessgenealogy.com/montana/montana_settlement_geology_exploration.htm )
[2] Idaho Parks and Recreation, About Cataldo Mission, Angler Guide.  found at:      
[3] Marc Entze, Glossary, Mullan Road Terms and Glossary.                     found at:
[4] Jacqueline Peterson, Sacred Encounters in the Northwest: A Persistent Dialogue, US Catholic Historian volume 12 number 4, Catholic University of American Press, 1994. Pg 39                  found at:
[5] Captain John Mullan USA, Report on the Construction of a Military Road from Fort Walla-Walla to Fort Benton, Washington (City): Government Printing Office, 1863, 49