The Spalding Presbyterian Church
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Henry Spalding brought the Presbyterian Church to Nez Perce country and in the preceding years built a small but devout congregation near Lapwai.
After leaving Nez Perce country in the aftermath of the killings of the Whitmans at their mission, Spalding returned in 1871 as a result of President Ulysses S. Grant's peace policy, allowing various Christian denominations to nominate Indian agents to administer tribal affairs. Spalding wanted to strengthen the Presbyterian Church on the reservation and end the growing influence of other Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church. Sue and Kate McBeth built on Spalding's work and continued to strengthen the Presbyterian Church, vigorously enforcing church doctrine and stamping out traditional practices.
The first services were held in the building in 1876. In 1905, the building was given a brick facing which is what you see now. The building is used and maintained by an active congregation and is not open to the public.
Did You Know?
The Nez Perce often travelled great distances to fish with family and friends. They fished as far away as present day Willamette Falls, near Oregon City as well as Celilo and Kettle Falls to the north.