United Methodist Episcopal Church

Settlers from Ripon, Wisconsin, established Park City in 1882, arriving just ahead of the railroad. The pious community organized a Christian club and Sabbath School within its first year. Originally, traveling ministers served Park City. Among those preaching here was Methodist circuit rider “Brother Van” William Wesley Van Orsdel. Reputedly, Brother Van delivered his first sermon in the saloon. To prepare, the bartender covered the bar and liquor display with a large canvas and built pews by placing planks across beer kegs. The Dunn & Babcock store and the school also served as venues for religious services. In 1897, residents organized a building committee to raise money for a permanent house of worship. Mrs. F. W. Lee and Miss Etha Peck took to the valley soliciting subscriptions; the Church Extension Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church also donated funds. Although the congregation initially envisioned a log church, local stonemason Manley Downs convinced the trustees that he could provide local stone as cheaply as they could cut logs. Masons pieced the irregularly shaped sandstone with the help of a gentle draft horse, who powered the hoist used to put each stone in place. The vernacular building’s stylistic elements the tall, narrow, pointed-arched windows, arched doorway, stone construction, and hipped-roof bell tower reference the ecclesiastical architecture of larger communities. Dedicated in June 1898, the simple yet stately sandstone church continues to serve the Park City community.

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Southeast corner of Clark Street and 2nd Avenue, Park City, Montana ~ Private