Filed Under Bridger

Methodist Episcopal Church and Parsonage

Organization of the Bridger Methodist Episcopal Church and the Ladies Aid took place in 1899, pre-dating by one year the founding of the town itself. As in other small Montana communities, itinerant ministers like the Reverend John G. Clark served the early congregation. Services were conducted in the dining room of the Barlow Hotel or in the hall above Hiram Haskin’s hardware store. Land for the church was donated when the townsite of Bridger was platted in 1900, but ground-breaking did not take place until March of 1905. The Ladies Aid raised funds for the building by giving dinners and selling handmade quilts, clothing, and other items. Under the direction of Reverend Clark, stonemason Eric Forsman prepared the foundation, and construction began with donated materials and labor. By December the steeple was ready to receive its 700-pound bell. The community-built Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated on May 27, 1906, the first in the Clarks Fork Valley. The Bridger landmark is a fine example of Methodist Church design, typified by the L-shaped plan, corner bell tower, and simplified Gothic windows. Fretwork in the open bell tower, decorative shingles, and stained glass enrich the basic plan. The adjacent gable-roofed parsonage, now detached from this property, was finished in 1914. Three congregations merged in 1939 to form the Methodist Church, and in 1949 an addition was completed to accommodate growing membership. Renamed the United Methodist Church in 1968, the church today represents the valley’s early religious development, and its continued use is a fitting tribute to the pioneer congregation responsible for its construction.

Images

Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist Episcopal Church (PAc 91-51 Bridger R02 F34). Front to side view of the church building, facing southeast on the corner of West Broadway Avenue and North 3rd Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Vernon P. Sundberg Date: Apr. 1985
Methodist Parsonage Methodist Parsonage (PAc 91-51 Bridger R02 F33). Front to side view of the parsonage house, facing south to southeast on West Broadway Avenue. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Vernon P. Sundberg Date: Apr. 1985
Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist Episcopal Church (PAc 91-51 Bridger R02 F35). Front view of the church building, facing east on South 3rd Street near the intersection of 3rd Street and West Broadway Avenue. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Vernon P. Sundberg Date: Apr. 1985
Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist Episcopal Church (PAc 91-51 Bridger R02 F36). Front to side view of the church building, facing northeast on South 3rd Street. B&W. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office from the Photograph Archives at the Montana Historical Society Creator: Vernon P. Sundberg Date: Apr. 1985

Location

220 West Broadway Avenue, Bridger, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Methodist Episcopal Church and Parsonage,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/113.