The Coeur d'Alene Indians had a village here known as sq'wt'u. The town is named for Father Joseph Cataldo, SJ, who served at the Old Mission from 1865 to 1870. Patrick J. Whalen, the first homesteader in this area, platted the town of Cataldo. Whalen built a log cabin and operated a ferry across the Coeur d'Alene River connecting to the Mullan Road. When the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company came through in 1889, Whalen discontinued his ferry. The Cataldo Mission remains as one of the oldest and most treasured buildings in Kootenai County.