“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Stevensville in Ravalli County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

St. Mary's Mission Historic District

St. Mary's Mission Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 11, 2018
1. St. Mary's Mission Historic District Marker
Inscription. Jesuit priests and lay brothers founded St. Mary’s Mission—the first mission in the Northwest—near this site in 1841. The Jesuits closed the mission in 1850, returning in 1866. For the next quarter century, they helped the Salish adapt from hunting to farming as the buffalo disappeared. The priests helped support and advocate for the Salish people and provided medical services and spiritual guidance to both Indians and whites. When the U.S. government forced the impoverished Salish to leave their beloved Bitterroot Valley for the Flathead Reservation in 1891, St. Mary’s closed. An influx of homesteaders prompted the creation of St. Mary’s Parish in 1910, and the old mission church reopened. In 1911, the Salish returned to St. Mary’s to celebrate their Bitterroot heritage, a tradition they still maintain. The historic district includes the 1866 church and pharmacy, designed by the multi-talented Father Anthony Ravalli. Ravalli, also the architect of Idaho’s famed Cataldo Mission, employed log building techniques, ingeniously adapting European ecclesiastical architecture to the remote frontier. Chief Victor’s log home and the Indian burial ground recall the Salish presence. Adjacent is St. Mary’s Cemetery and Father Ravalli’s final resting place. Two gnarled apple trees provide living evidence of the Jesuits’ agriculture. The
St. Mary's Mission Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 11, 2018
2. St. Mary's Mission Historic District Marker
The marker is on the left below the church.
new St. Mary’s, built in 1954 with donations from Montana and beyond, represents an unprecedented preservation effort to save the endangered mission church from deterioration through constant use. Today, St. Mary’s churches—old and new—define the historic complex as a place of significance to both Indian and white communities.
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Montana National Register Historical Markers marker series.
Location. 46° 30.552′ N, 114° 5.832′ W. Marker is in Stevensville, Montana, in Ravalli County. Marker is at the intersection of Charlos Street and West 4th Street, on the right when traveling south on Charlos Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 315 Charlos Street, Stevensville MT 59870, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Saint Mary's Mission (here, next to this marker); Denayer House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Porter & Buck Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Henry Buck/Stevensville Trading Co (approx. 0.2 miles away); First State Bank Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Thorton Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); IOOF Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away); Calvin and Magdalene Cook House (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Stevensville.
Categories. Churches & Religion
Credits. This page was last revised on September 18, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 18, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 36 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 18, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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