History of Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception Church is the oldest standing Catholic Church in Seattle.

Our Parish was founded in 1891 by the Jesuit Fathers on the site of what is now Seattle University. In 1904, the parish was moved to its present location and the Church was built in just six months. The dedication ceremonies were celebrated on December 4, 1904 by Bishop O'Dea. The grotto in the Church was constructed in 1930 by William Morgan. It is a smaller "but exact" replica of the Grotto to our Blessed Mother in Lourdes, France. The frescoes were hand-painted by the Jesuit priests and completed in the late 1920s. At one time, the church building was the largest auditorium in the city. From the floor, the highest point of the church dome reaches 150 feet into the air!

In 1929, the administration of the parish was transferred from the Jesuits to the Diocese of Seattle and the Reverend Theodore Ryan became pastor. Monsigner Ryan served as pastor at Immaculate Conception until his death in 1960. The pipe organ, which is one of the finest in the Northwest, was donated in his memory.

Immaculate Conception Church was declared a Historical Landmark in 1974. Many of the treasures of our Church are priceless. The type of stained glass windows found in Immaculate Conception Church are no longer made anywhere in the world and many of the older statues, dating from 1890 to the late 1920s, are irreplaceable. Immaculate Conception Church has had a long and proud history and we pray it will continue its role in the growth of the Church in Seattle.

For more historical and interesting information about Immaculate Conception Church, please click here to open and view a pdf file that was created by our "in-house historian," Mrs. Dorothy Cordova. Mrs. Cordova has a deep rooted history within Immaculate as a long time parishioner and former student of Immaculate Conception School.