Saint Paul's Mission
The old mission
Following Father DeSmet's preaching to the Sxoielpi (Colville) Indians in August, 1845, a small log chapel was built. Two years later the present hand-hewn log church replaced it. (Restoration took place during the 1930s.) Sometime around 1869 St. Paul's Mission was abandoned in favor of a location seven miles north of the present city of Colville. Fort Colville (1826-1871) located on the banks of the Columbia River below St. Paul's Mission was a relocation of Spokane House. When the backwater from Grand Coulee Dam flooded the original site, the monument to Ft. Colville was moved to the top of the bluff near the mission. Near this fort there was a large boulder upon which the local Indians and pioneers sharpened their knives for many years. This boulder was also moved to the top of the hill. Also behind the mission is alarge triangle which marks the boundaries of a mass grave of Indians that died of highly contagious disease. This place will haunt you as it is obviously a focal point of historical events. If there is another reenactment here as there was a few years ago, be sure to go as the last one had local Indian elders stand up in the mission and tell stories of their experience back when the falls roared with healthy salmon runs. This was inspiring. Always watch for reenactments that are on some important site, like powwows on reservations. They generally are open to public and can be very interesting learning and experience. Our area abounds in these things, but don't expect them to repeat every year as they are very much a toiling for whoever puts them on. This site is administered by the National Park Service. An information # for it is: 509-738-6366. Check out
for some related info.
Drive north on highway 395 to Colville and then continue on 395 and 20 west to Kettle Falls. Go through town and then just before the east side of the bridge over the Columbia take the entrance road leading off US 395.Take the dirt road up a short ways until you see the Mission building and then park near it and hike behind the building on the interpreted pathway which will lead to the knife sharpening stone, the triangle burial zone, the views, etc. If you want an interesting return route drive east on 20 through the little Pend Oreille Lake system through Tiger and through Usk back to hwy 2 to Spokane. Watch for a waterfall, many beautiful swimminglakes. I like to swim at Thomas, Gillette, or Frater in the peak heat of summer only.
I would get a copy of the
Delorme Washington State Atlas and Gazetteer
if you don't have one as it makes this trip easier.
Rules & Law
Water, binoculars, picnic, knife, and in summer swimmingsuit.