Saint 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: 11/2/2017 2:20:53 PM
Waymark Code: WMWZ3P
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
Views: 0

Long Description:
St. Paul's Mission was established near the Fort Colville Hudson's Bay Trading Post in 1830, the first non-native settlement in this area. A cemetery to the rear of the mission was most likely established around this time. By some accounts, the first building was erected at the mission 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 reawakened, 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 Hudson's Bay Company trading post stood to the east of the site of the cemetery, at a spot now submerged by the Columbia River in 1939. It was the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam 100 miles or so downstream which flooded the Columbia River Valley nearly to the Canadian border.

The first white settlement in Stevens County, which then encompassed much of northeast Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana, the post was established sometime between 1816 and 1826. There are conflicting reports concerning the exact date of its establishment. The marker states that it was established in 1826. It was abandoned in 1871 with the decline of the fur trade.

A sign on the north side of Highway 20/395 not far east of the Columbia River Bridge points out the road/trail leading in to the mission. The Mission, incidentally, is a National Historic Site.

SAINT PAUL'S MISSION 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 1880's, 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.
From the marker to the west of the mission building

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Marker Type: Other (please describe in long description)

Town name: Kettle Falls

Placer: National Park Service

Related website: [Web Link]

Date marker was placed: Not listed

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