St. Paul's Mission - Kettle Falls, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 48° 37.715 W 118° 06.400
11U E 418456 N 5386759
Quick Description: This, the site of the original St. Paul's Mission, was established near the Fort Colville Hudson's Bay Trading Post in 1830. This was the first non-native settlement in this area.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 10/20/2013 9:28:20 PM
Waymark Code: WMJAQQ
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 3

Long Description:
By some accounts, the first building was erected on this site in 1838 by French Canadian Friars Francis N. Blanchet and Modeste Demers, who held the first Catholic Services between the Rocky and Cascade mountains. A more permanent structure was completed by the natives by May of 1846. The first resident priest was Fr. Peter De Vos, who remained until ill health forced his retirement. A more substantial timber structure was built during his tenure.

Frs. Joseph Joset and Louis Vercruysse took over the mission and ran it during the 1850s. Temporarily closed in 1858, it reopened in circa 1863, but its value as a mission was declining, partly due to a dwindling local native population and partly due to the opening of another mission at what is today the city of Colville. The final known services were held at the mission in either 1868 or August 14, 1875, depending on the source.

The mission fell into disuse and disrepair until, by 1901, half the roof was gone, the windows, doors and floor were gone and the cross at the peak of the roof had fallen. In the the late 1920s Jesuit Frs. George Weibel and Joseph Tomkin began to promote restoration, but neither interest nor money were forthcoming.

At a centennial service in 1938, interest in saving the mission was awakened, and restoration began in 1939, under the leadership of Father Georgen. Ownership was transferred to the state of Washington in 1951 and to the National Parks Service in 1974, which has maintained it ever since.

The mission was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Text from the plaque, followed by an excerpt from the National Parks Service:

Father Anthony Rivalli visited Fort Colvile in 1845 - nearly twenty years after it was established. He led the Indians of the Kettle Falls area to build a small chapel of rough logs and brush. By 1847 that chapel had been replaced by a sturdy hand-hewn log church with priests' quarters. The portage road that began at the boat landing below Kettle Falls passed just in front of the church on the way to Fort Colvile.

The church was an active cultural and social center. In regular use until the early 1880s, it became a victim of changing times.

In 1939 the structure was restored to its present condition - a monument to the mission era of the northwest frontier.

St. Paul’s Mission is a monument to much more than the proselytizing efforts of Jesuit missionaries in the 1800’s. The mission stands as a reminder of the Indians it was built to serve and the effects of Westward expansion on the indigenous people of the Northwest.


Date the Church was built, dedicated or cornerstone laid: 1/1/1847

Age of Church building determined by?: Other reliable source

If denomination of Church is not part of the name, please provide it here: Catholic

Street address of Church:
St.Paul's Mission National Historic Site
St.Paul's Mission Road at Highway 20
Kettle Falls, WA USA


Primary website for Church or Historic Church Building: [Web Link]

Secondary Website for Church or Historic Church Building: [Web Link]

If Church is open to the public, please indicate hours: Not listed

If Church holds a weekly worship service and "all are welcome", please give the day of the week: Not listed

Indicate the time that the primary worship service is held. List only one: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
1) A photo of the church is required for visits to a waymark.

2) Please share some comments about your visit.

3) Additional photos are encouraged. If you can have information in addition to that already provided about this church, please share it with us.

Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
MapQuest
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest This Old Church
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Rock Chalk visited St. Paul's Mission - Kettle Falls, WA 10/4/2020 Rock Chalk visited it