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The Sacred Heart Mission, Idaho


Increasingly as I age, I make detours on my road travels to see destinations that I've not been to before.  While on a journey to visit our older son in Reno last month, my wife and I came across signage directing us to this mission.  We knew little about it and decided a detour to learn more and stretch our legs was in order.

The town is De Smet, located beside highway 95, on the Couer d'Alene Indian reservation.  The church in the photo below (used as last weekend's One Clue Mystery) is the Sacred Heart Mission, or rather a rebuilt copy of it.  Congratulations to supersleuth George G, who recognized where we were.

One Clue Mystery - Copy

02 De Smet

03 De Smet

04 De Smet

The original Mission of the Sacred Heart was built by members of the Coeur d'Alene tribe and Jesuit missionaries in 1853, and it remains the oldest standing building in Idaho (and is situated in Cataldo).  It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

09 De Smet(The original mission in Cataldo, Idaho)

The Couer d'Alene tribe's territory was reduced when the Federal Government redistricted the tribal boundaries, moving the existing mission in Cataldo outside of the tribe's newly established territory.  The tribe relocated to De Smet in 1877.  Another (if simpler) copy of the church was built here and served as a center of worship for many decades, but it burned down in 1939.  The church was again built in De Smet and this is the church featured in today's blog.  Unfortunately, the church building was locked when we visited, so we could not see its interior.

05 De Smet

06 De Smet

07 De Smet

The church sits on a hill, with nice walking paths and a number of plaques outlining local history.

08 De Smet

10 De Smet

11 De Smet

12 De Smet

The views from the church's hill, as you can see in the photo below, are quite lovely and typical of the Couer d'Alene region.

13 De Smet

The church was affiliated with boarding schools for boys (run by the Jesuits) and girls (run by the Sisters of Providence), constructed in 1908 and closed in 1973.  The building burned down in 2011.


Images (14)
  • 01 De Smet
  • 02 De Smet
  • 03 De Smet
  • 04 De Smet
  • 05 De Smet
  • 06 De Smet
  • 07 De Smet
  • 08 De Smet
  • 09 De Smet
  • 10 De Smet
  • 11 De Smet
  • 12 De Smet
  • 13 De Smet
  • One Clue Mystery - Copy

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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