Oldest Church in Montana Is an Amazing 182 Years Old

While there are other historic churches in the US, the oldest church in Montana is one you won’t soon forget. Located in the Bitterroot Valley and surrounded by the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains, this stunning chapel offers stunning views.

The Oldest Church in Montana

Located near Stevensville, Montana, is the oldest church in the state: St. Mary’s Mission. It was constructed in 1841, before to Montana’s statehood. It took 48 years for Montana to become a state.

In 1866, the church was reconstructed after undergoing renovations. Careful preservation has been given priority ever since. St. Mary’s Mission was listed as a National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

The Background

Father Pierre DeSmet, S.J. of the Society of Jesus of the Catholic Church created St. Mary’s Mission. It was the first non-native settlement to be established permanently.

The locals were first exposed to farming, livestock husbandry, and Christian beliefs by church missionaries. Father Anthony Ravalli, S.J., an Italian who came to the area in 1845, was the first doctor, chemist and surgeon to join the church.

Visiting St. Mary’s Mission

Photographs do not do the church or its surroundings credit. Make sure to spend some time at St. Mary’s Mission when you are in Stevensville, Montana. It is possible to go on a guided tour with an expert between mid-April and mid-October.

The church, the connected house, Father Ravalli’s cabin, the kitchen and eating room, and other areas are all included in the tour. Additionally, you can look through old pictures, artefacts, and papers.

Depending on how many questions you have and how long you spend exploring the historical site, the excursions can last anywhere from 30 to 75 minutes. Donation-based tours require only what you can afford to spend.

The Grounds

St. Mary’s Mission is situated in an amazing area and features lovely scenery all around the grounds. At DeSmet Park, you can have a picnic, go through the cemetery where some of the founders are buried, and have a seat under the apple tree that Father Ravalli planted. There are additional Indian burial places on the property.

Wildlife Near Montana’s Oldest Church

Near the oldest church in Stevensville, Montana, you can see over 200 different bird species, such as the pileated woodpecker, yellow warbler, and eastern kingbird. Along with other species, you might observe coyotes, muskrats, minks, and white-tailed deer.