The first to burn was the Sacred Heart church of the Jesuit mission on April 2, 1939. Archbishop Seghers, the first bishop of the Pacific northwest and Alaska, had placed the cornerstone of the church in 1881. A legend about the fate of the church is told at the Museum of North Idaho. An elderly Coeur d’Alene named Agatha Timothy is said to have loved the church so much that she vowed to “take it to heaven with her.” The day after she died a furnace explosion caused the fire that destroyed the building.
The nearby Mary Immaculate School, run by the Sisters of Charity of Providence was built in 1892 as a boarding school for girls. It was one of many built across the West, with, perhaps, the best of intentions. Often the schools served to educate, but also separate Native American students from their families. The school closed in 1974. It burned on Feb. 3, 2011. The landmark building on the hill above DeSmet was on the National Register of Historic Places. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe is planning the Sister’s Building Park and Gathering Area on the site. It will include interpretive panels telling the history of the area.