A Brief History of Immaculate Conception Church
The Church building constructed in 1892 by Father Bernard Smythe on the Northeast corner of Quien Sabe Road, across from the present location. The land had been purchased for $75. Tres Pinos with the missions of Panoche and New Idria was established as a parish unit in April of 1904 with Reverend Emile Cota as pastor. Thought Tres Pinos was larger and busier at the time, it became evident in June of 1925 that the community could not support a pastor and fulfill all obligations. Therefore, the parish was reduced to the status of a mission ant attached to Sacred Heart Church in Hollister. The parish was re-established on November 15, 1935.
Immaculate Conception was moved to its present location when Highway 25 was constructed. The grounds that the church and gardens stand on was donated by Juan Etcheverry. The church hall was built by donations from the Somavia Family as a gift for answered prayers for the recovery of their small daughter.
The gardens next to the church were planted with olive trees and the 14 Stations of the Cross were erected. The centerpiece of the garden is the marble replica of Michael-Angelo’s Pieta. The Pieta was sculpted in Carrara, Italy by Enrico Toricelli; and was donated by Fr. Stuhlmann and his brother in memory of their mother. The base for this sculpture was built by Edward Matthews along with the enclosures for the stations. Also in the garden, is the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes constructed in 1943. The Winged Victory was constructed in 1945 as a memorial to World War II. Our Lady of Fatima was requested by the Portuguese community in 1953.
The grottoes were designed and built by Edward Matthews in memory of his son, Martin Matthews. The largest grotto is the site of the Nativity, complete with wooden figures and decorated with light.