"Where Montana Began" - 48 years before Montana attained statehood!
During the decade 1831-1841 four separate delegations of the Salish and Nez Perce Indian tribes traveled to St. Louis to petition for "Black Robes" to live among them. Belgian Jesuit, Fr. Pierre Jean DeSmet, along with five Jesuit Missionaries were sent in response to the requests. The 1841 chapel established the first church in the Pacific Northwest and the first pioneer settlement in Montana.
In November of 1845, Fr. Anthony Ravalli, S.J., arrived at St. Mary's after being recruited from Italy by Fr. DeSmet. Fr. Ravalli was a true renaissance man in addition to being a Jesuit priest. He was Montana's first physician, surgeon and pharmacist. Fr. Ravalli was an architect, carpenter, artist, sculptor, and built the first grist mill and saw mill. He was assigned to St. Mary's from 1845-1850 and again from 1866 until his death in 1884.
A photo gallery in Chief Victor's Cabin, circa 1861, brings a sense of the 19th century when the Indian and European cultures merged. The Chapel with attached living quarters, Fr. Ravalli's log cabin and pharmacy are all restored to the 1879 era, furnished with items handmade by Fr. Ravalli. The Salish Encampment represents the native homeland of the Bitter Root Salish.
Historic St. Mary's Mission is the story of remarkable people in a turbulent time, and the assimilation of two very different cultures against the backdrop of the American Frontier. Walk through history and see, touch, and hear this fascinating, controversial, and important chapter of this nation's past.
Guided tours: April 15 - October 15.
Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday 11:00am - 3:00pm
401 West 4th Street
Stevensville, MT 59870