Coeur d’Alene’s oldest church sustains severe damage in 2021 windstorm

Fort Sherman’s “Little Red” Chapel in Coeur d’Alene is “bowing from the impact” of a fallen tree, a spokesperson for the Museum of North Idaho said.

Credit: Museum of North Idaho
Fort Sherman Chapel in Coeur d’Alene

Author: Megan Carroll, KREM 2 News Published: 4:03 PM PST January 13, 2021 Updated: 4:17 PM PST January 13, 2021

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — A historic church in Coeur d’Alene suffered severe damage on Wednesday when a tree fell on it during a windstorm

Two people have died during the storm and many buildings, including some homes, throughout the Inland Northwest have suffered damage due to fallen trees. 

Fort Sherman’s “Little Red” Chapel, built in 1880 by the U.S. Army, is the city’s oldest church, according to the Museum of North Idaho. It served as a church, library and the area’s first school. 

Jocelyn Whitfield-Babcock, Development Director for the Museum of North Idaho, said the building is “bowing from the impact of the tree.” The museum is currently communicating with an insurance company about the damage, she added.

Fort Sherman was abandoned in 1900 and the buildings and property were sold at public auction five years later. Developers bought what is today known as the Sherman Park Addition, which included the chapel. 

Many denominations used the chapel for church services over the years, the museum said. Efforts to preserve the chapel began in 1934. 

In 1942, the Athletic Round Table held the building in trust and began repairs. The organization then donated the chapel to the Museum of North Idaho in 1984 in order to ensure its preservation. 

The chapel has since served as a setting for weddings in Coeur d’Alene, with three planned in February 2021. 

The Fort Sherman Chapel has a restricted donation account that the Museum of North Idaho uses to maintain the venue. Donations can be made online, over the phone at 208-664-3448 or sent by mail to PO Box 812 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 83816.