St. Joseph's Catholic Church and Covent is a landmark of religious history in Spokane. Finished in 1901, the Church was a marvel of Late Gothic Revival architecture. It is build on the grounds that used to contain home of Chester Ide, the same man for whom the neighborhood known as Ide's Addition was to be named after.
In 1890, the Catholic Parish of Spokane County built a wooden framed building on the site of the future St. Joseph's to facilitate Spokane's growing Catholic community. Spokane was and still is majority protestant. But waves of immigrants from southern Europe and Ireland were changing the dynamic all across the United States. Spokane was no exception.
By the end of the decade, the buildings had not aged well, and plans for a new church were drawn up. The architectural firm Preusse & Zittel, Julius A. Zittel offered their services pro-bono. After four months of construction the building was completed on October 27th, 1901. In 1905, a school was added, with the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, Pennsylvania to take over instruction.
A 1923 fire in the school building badly damaged the third floor, and in 1924, a convent was opened on the property to house the teaching nuns, which was later turned into a Parish Center with classrooms and offices. The original school building was demolished and turned into retirement homes for senior Spokanites. In 1928, a Gymnasium was added to the property across the street, which would be used by the Church until the late 1960s.
St. Joseph's was only the second Catholic Church built in the city of Spokane, and it served to solidify the relationship between Spokane and the growing Catholic faith. It is still in operation today, and currently offers church services en EspaÃ±ol in response to yet another growing Spokane community.