Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the June 11, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Inland Register: Volume 17 – No. 44
50 Years Ago: June 12, 1959

Work to start on Kettle Falls church

On Friday, June 5, Bishop Topel signed the contract authorizing start of construction on the new Sacred Heart Church in Kettle Falls, a Mission of Northport. Cost of the building will be slightly in excess of $36,000, a square-foot cost of $7.66 made possible by trimming down original plans to fit the parish pocketbook.

Leitze Construction Co., Spokane, received the contract as low bidder, with construction to start immediately. Completion date is set for fall, 1959.

Items Can Be Added

In order to stay within the parish budget but yet to erect an attractive, adequate building, items which can be added later via volunteer labor have been omitted from present building plans. Included in such future plans are the balcony, confessionals, interior, and exterior painting, and the laying of floor tiles. The basement of the building, which will be left unfinished by the contractors, can also be a parish project. Electrical wiring and plumbing fixtures also were modified to stay within the $36,000 figure. Labor on the church roof is scheduled as a volunteer project.

Confessionals from the old church can be used until replaced by new ones. The altar for the new Sacred Heart Church also will be a “parish volunteer” project.

Architects for the new church were Henry J. Swoboda, and Associates.

Inland Register: Volume 41 – No. 41
25 Years Ago: June 13, 1984

Historic Marycliff Site Sold; Endowment Established

Much of the historical character of the buildings and grounds comprising the former Marycliff High School campus will be retained in a new business and professional office park, diocesan officials announced this week.

Marycliff Associates, a partnership composed of Spokane area business people, has acquired the five buildings and 7.5 acres of the lower south side property from the Diocese o f Spokane. The purchased price is reported to be $1,450,000. The business deal becomes final June 15.

Most of the changes the group intends to bring about on Marycliff will be interior, rather than exterior. The exteriors will be kept in their original condition in order “to preserve the historical and natural qualities of the site as much as possible,” said Father Frank Bach, diocesan Vicar for Administration.

Preserve Setting

“We are committed to retaining the architectural style and campus-like setting of the grounds,” said Jim Frank, a principal in Marycliff Assocates. “Our plan is to preserve all of the historical buildings on the site subject only to structural soundness and economic feasibility.”

Estimated net income to the diocese from the sale of the property will be $1.3 million after fees, taxes, and maintenance are paid. The net income will be used for an endowment which will be under the direct control of Bishop Welsh.

The partners who have purchased Marycliff will make their down payment in two parts, in June and in September of this year. Each payment will be $150,000.

The June payment has already been used to cover legal fees, and maintenance costs on the property. The September payment will be the first to go into the endowment.

When the diocese has been paid in full – within the next eight years – the endowment should provide approximately$110,000 in interest per year for distribution in the diocese. Interest from the endowment will be distributed by the bishop to assist funding for a variety of educational programs in the diocese.

The diocese has spent about $190,000 on maintenance of the property since the former girls’ school closed five years ago. That sum will be repaid over the next five or six years, rather than immediately in full, according to Father Bach. In this way, the endowment may generate interest for distribution – about $50,000 – as early as January of 1985.

Existing buildings on the property will be available for lease or development by potential owners. Private roads and campus-style parking will be maintained. Planning for access roads and common parking areas is presently underway. Building renovation is expected to begin this fall.

Approximately three acres of the site will remain as open space. The existing buildings and remaining parcels of raw ground will be offered for lease or sale, Frank said. He added that new building designed for the planned unit development will be required to carry out the same architectural style and incorporate the same exterior materials as the existing structures.

Historic Site

The Marycliff site is included within the Marycliff-Cliff Park Historic District which was recorded in the National Register of Historic places in 1980. Included in the existing structures on the property, all of which were at one time either classrooms or ancillary facilities at Marycliff High School, are:

• The “Undercliff” mansion (later known as the B.L. Gordon House) which was built in 1896 by Spokane pioneer F. Lewis Clark. The mansion was designed by famed Spokane architect Kirtland K. Cutter.
• The Corbin House, also designed by Cutter.
• The Undercliff carriage house, designed by Cutter and converted to a Chapel during the Marycliff era.
• Marycliff Hall, a classroom building built in 1930.
• McCauley Hall, built in 1960.

Most of the Marycliff site was donated to the Diocese of Spokane by B.L. Gordon’s widow in 1929 for use as a Catholic girls’ school.

Joining Frank as partners in the project are attorneys Stanley R. Schultz and William D. Eden; developers Terry Thompson and Gib Brumback; and architect, Jerry Ressa. The firm of Higgins, Thompson and Brumback, Inc., will serve as sales representatives for the office park. The diocese was represented in the sale by Thomas F. Maher.

This is the fourth major attempt to develop the property, and the first to be successful.

(Father Caswell is archivist and Ecumenical Relations Officer for the Diocese of Spokane, and a regular contributor to this publication.)


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