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 Vatican Council.
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. 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.