The legacy of Mother Joseph is embodied in what is regarded as her most iconic building project, Providence Academy, which opened in September, 1873 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While widely regarded as her most outstanding architectural achievement, it was only one of only twenty-nine hospitals and schools founded during Mother Joseph’s forty-five years of devoted leadership of and service to the Sisters of Providence. Mother Joseph had arrived in Vancouver from Montreal in 1856 with five other sisters to establish the order in the Northwest. It is this incomparable record of accomplishment, which stretched from Vancouver throughout Washington, Oregon Montana, Idaho and British Columbia, that resulted in her being honored as Washington State’s second representative in our Nation’s Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
For some fifty years, Providence Academy served as the home for the Sisters of Providence regional administration, as well as administrative center for adjacent St. Joseph Hospital. The Academy also served as a school until its eventual closure and sale to the Hidden family in 1969, a fitting transfer since the Hidden Brick Company had supplied the bricks for the four-story structure.
In January 2015, the Fort Vancouver National Trust purchased the Academy with generous support from the community and Providence Heath and services. The Trust is committed to preserving this historic building and making it accessible to the community.