Picturesquely set on East Hill above the City center, this simple two story frame building is actually the second Saint Josephs Church. The original church dedicated on November 15, 1863, burned to the ground in Idaho City's second fire on May 17, 1867.
Rebuilt by June 2, 1867 of the same year under supervision of Father A.Z. Poulin, Saint Joseph's was for some years, the only church in Idaho City. Most of the early miners were Irish Catholics and the church was an important spiritual and social center for both the permanent and transient residents of this mining town.
Saint Joseph's held the first recored solemn High Mass in Idaho on All Soul's Day, November 1, 1868. Idaho's first bishop, Bishop Lootens celebrated Mass there in November of 1869. Throughout the latter part of the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century the church was without a resident pastor due to the decline in mining activity and the accompanying decrease in population.
This building is on the National Register of Historic Buildings in America.