Building on Faith
Saint Paul’s Journey
A growing pilgrimage.
The nomad days of St. Paul’s parish ended with the purchase of property located at the corner of 1st Street South and 14th Avenue South on February 26, 1894. The first official church building was constructed soon after. The property was sold to Bishop A. J. Glorieux on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, Idaho.
The property was later transferred from Bishop Glorieux’s name to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise on December 5, 1913 presumably in return for monies to invest in the newly constructed church at the present St. Paul’s location. The 1st Street South property was later sold by the Diocese to the Nampa Savings and Loan Association on June 29, 1929. The property transferred over the years through several different owners. Today the Farm Store can be found on the original St. Paul’s Church site.
Just as St. Paul left Judea early in his ministry to venture out into Asia Minor to cultivate the growing community of Christian believers, the blossoming community of St. Paul’s Church needed to venture out in search of a new location for a bigger building.
The present site of St. Paul’s Church was purchased on May 20, 1909 from E.H. and S.N. Dewey for the reported sum of $3,500 by The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, Idaho. The Waterhouse property, as it was called, was to be the new church home. It was located on the outskirts of this small Idaho town; surrounded by fields in every direction. It would expand the limits of Nampa and become one of her most familiar landmarks.
It is interesting to note that the Dewey family, the seller of the property, has a long history in southwestern Idaho through their ownership of the Boise, Nampa and Owyhee Railway Company and the well known Dewey Palace. When the property was sold by A. Hinkey to C.W. Moore in 1896, the proceeds of the sale were to be used to assist in the construction of a railroad between the city of Nampa and Silver City and DeLamar in Owyhee County.
In 1897 the Dewey family purchased the property and held it for nearly 12 years. Is it possible that the site of our existing church and school may have been considered as a possible location for the famed Dewey Palace?
In 1909, the plans for the new St. Paul’s Church were designed by B.W. Tourtelotte, a partner in the architecture firm Hummel & Tourtelotte. The same firm that designed the State Capitol and St. John’s Cathedral, among other famous buildings in Idaho. Work on the new church began in 1910, as recorded on the cornerstone of the building. In gratitude of his faithful pastoring, the new parish hall would be named in honor of the beloved Marist Father, Alain Dempsey. Many other memorials were made and the new church truly began to reflect the community it served. The bell from the original church was brought over to the new church and exists today in the present bell tower.
It was during this time in the early 1900s that Basque sheepherders emigrating from Bizkaia and Orozko and other regions in Spain began arriving in the west. These men and women settled in southwestern Idaho, south-eastern Oregon, and Nevada and established themselves in towns such as Jordan Valley, Elko, and Nampa. Many of those early emigrant families are present members of St. Paul’s parish.
Thanks to the efforts of the early parishioners, the emergent community of St. Paul’s had a piece of land with room to grow and a sizable new home. One that would serve us well for nearly 100 years.
? Jeff Agenbroad
& Rusty Boicourt