St. Mary's Mission (Roman Catholic), Stevensville, Ravalli County, MT
Significance: The first Catholic mission in the northwest was founded by Father Jean de Smet for the Salish (Indians) in 1841. The mission was abandoned in 1850 when the land improvements were sold to John Owen who built a trading fort nearby. In 1866 the Jesuits reactivated the mission. Father Anthony Ravalli, designer of the famed Cataldo Mission, returned at that time to find St. Mary's Mission in ruins. Under his direction, utilizing the logs from the early church, the present log church was built. The center section of the building was the first part erected by Father Ravalli who also built the hand carved alter, choir rail, etc. in the church. Living quarters for Father Ravalli extended the building behind the alter area. The front portion of the church and the steeple were added at a later date when the white man attended services here. Father Ravalli remained at St. Mary's Mission until it was closed in 1891. Today the restored structure serves as a chapel. In 1954 a new and less attractive church was erected nearby.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-10
Survey number: HABS MT-10
Building/structure dates: ca. 1866 Initial Construction