Unique Event Venue
State of California Historic Landmark
The building was completed in 1866 by members of the local community as a convent for the Sisters of Mercy. Originally the Sisters taught the local children, but soon they were inundated with children orphaned by mining accidents. The Sisters then had several dormitories built for the orphans. Being the only orphanage in Northern California, children came from as far away as Southern Oregon and Western Nevada. By the 1890’s there were over 400 orphans and sixty sisters. The sisters housed, clothed, fed and educated the orphans until the 1930’s. Between the 1930's and 1960's, the sisters ran a Young Women's Finishing school.
After the sisters left in the late 1960’s, a group of concerned citizens was deeded the property to preserve the building. In the early 1970’s the group received non-profit status and later State of California Historic Landmark status as well as being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to the Grass Valley Museum, the Cultural Center features 13 artists' studios, ballet, belly dancing, tai chi, and karate classes. historic rose gardens, and St. Joseph’s Chapel. The Historic Rose Gardens have over 200 rose bushes, some over 100 years old, there are crepe myrtle trees; old holly trees; a rare white pomegranate tree, yew and other old fashioned garden favorites.
St. Joseph’s Cultural Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving a historic landmark for cultural activities in the community. It is owned and operated by the Historic Mt. St. Mary’s Preservation Committee.