St. Mary's Mission (Montana)

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St. Mary's Church and Pharmacy
St. Mary's Church and Pharmacy-Retouch2.jpg
Side and rear of the church
St. Mary's Mission (Montana) is located in Montana
St. Mary's Mission (Montana)
St. Mary's Mission (Montana) is located in the US
St. Mary's Mission (Montana)
Location North Ave., Stevensville, Montana
Coordinates 46°30′29″N 114°5′43″W / 46.50806°N 114.09528°W / 46.50806; -114.09528Coordinates: 46°30′29″N 114°5′43″W / 46.50806°N 114.09528°W / 46.50806; -114.09528
Area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Built 1866
NRHP Reference # 70000364[1]
Added to NRHP October 6, 1970

The Historic St. Mary’s Mission is a mission established by the Society of Jesus of the Catholic Church; located now on 4th street in modern-day Stevensville, Montana. Founded in 1841, St. Mary’s was the first permanent settlement made by European descendants in what became the state of Montana. The mission structure was rebuilt in 1866, with it being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.[2]

As construction began under the supervision of Pierre-Jean De Smet, he described St. Mary's and the Salish workforce as follows:

The women hewed down the timber, assisted by their husbands, with the greatest alacrity and expedition, and in a few weeks we had constructed a log church, capable of holding 900 persons. To ornament the interior, the women placed mats of a species long grass, which were hung on the roof and sides of the church, and spread over the floor,-- it was then adorned with festoons formed of branches of cedar and pine.[3]

The mission complex is open for tours from April through October. The buildings include the chapel with an attached residence, the infirmary, a dove cote, a cabin with Salish artifacts, and a visitor's center which contains a museum, research library, art gallery and gift shop.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ The Montana Catholic: St. Mary’s Mission in Stevensville designated National Historic District (September 17, 2010)
  3. ^ Smet, Pierre. Origin, Progress, and Prospects of the Catholic Mission to the Rocky Mountains. Fairfield, Washington: Ye Origin Galleon Press, 1972. pp. 5-6.

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