St. Joseph Church

St. Joseph parish was named in honor of three men named Joseph who were instrumental in freeing 269 captives of the Sioux in 1862 as historis Camp Release just west of Montevideo.  In the early days, church services were held at the courthouse with the judge's bench serving as altar.  The first recorded visit of a priest was that of Fr. John Andre in 1882.  By 1888 Fr. Andrew Kober from Bird Island was placed in charge of the parish.

Fr. Kober once remarked that if $200 were available, a church could be constructed.  Upon his return, the money has been raised and plans for building were put into action.  The first Mass in the new wooden church that served until 1928 was held October 12, 1888 with 27 in attendance.  St. Joseph parish was incorporated February 8, 1889.  A rectory, which soon became a convent, was built.  The parish rented a house for the pastor until 1948, when the church purchased the house that is still used today.

In 1918 the parish purchased the land on which the present church stands.  On May 29, 1927, the cornerstone was laid for a three-story,  brick school, which opened on September 4, 1927, with the Benedictine Sisters from St. Joseph, Minnesota as staff.  Mass was celebrated in its basement auditorium for 50 years.  The school closed in 1969, and the building was demolished in 197.  The present church was dedicated June 21, 1975, at a ceremony attended by nearly 2,000 people.  Land for St. Joseph Cemetery was purchased on October 21, 1904. In 1990 the parish purchased the old Trinity Church, which is now the St. Isidore Center.