The first Mass in the Salida area was celebrated by Father Henry Robinson in 1875 at the home of the Burnett
family in Poncha Springs. Father P.J. Gleason became the first resident pastor in Salida in 1885. He offered
Mass at Central School because fire had destroyed the small frame church that was believed to have been
built by Father Robinson in 1880. A new church was built in 1889 and would later be used as a school. By the
turn of the century, 56 Catholic families were living in Salida and Buena Vista. The current church on the corner
of Fifth and D streets was built by Msgr. Dean T. Wolohan in 1909. Father Maurice Gallagher was the pastor
who organized the construction of a new school building, which opened its doors in September 1957. Father
Gallagher also supervised the remodeling of the interior of the church to follow the directives of the Second
Father Gerald Bruggeman (1970-80) had to replace the plaster on the ceiling with wood paneling, when it began
to crack and fall, to prevent injury. Father Joseph Halloran was assigned to St. Joseph until January 1991 and
was followed by Father Ernie Bond. Father Bond had the difficult task of suspending operation of the school. In
2004 the Chaffee County Boys and Girls club began leasing the building.
In June 1995, Father Kenneth Przybyla came from the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., to be the parish administrator and began renovation of the church.The wood paneling on the ceiling was replaced by sheet rock. The paneling was removed from the sanctuary wall and the original window frame was uncovered. The outside brick in the window space was removed and a new wood frame and stained glass window was commissioned and installed. A new wall for the sanctuary was built, along with two arches one for the tabernacle and one of a statue of the Blessed Mother. A great arch was also built over the altar. A new walnut altar, ambo, candle stands, processional cross and table were designed and built by Daniel Strawn. On Feb 2, 1997, Bishop Richard C. Hanifen rededicated the remodeled church. During the summer of 1999, transformation of school building began in earnest. The building that had served the community as a school for so long is now a state-of-the-art conference center. Father Bogdan Siewiera, a priest of the Diocese of Tarnow, Poland, became pastor on June 30, 2007. In March 2009, St. Joseph Parish celebrated the 100th anniversary of its church building. In August 2013, Father Jim Williams became pastor of St. Joseph Parish.