St. Mark's Episcopal Church

The settlement of Big Timber coincided with the advent of the Northern Pacific Railroad, which steamed into the Yellowstone Valley in 1882, spurring settlement along the line. In 1884, Rev. Alfred Brown, an Episcopal minister from Livingston, held the town’s first Protestant church services in the local schoolhouse. The Rev. J. F. Pritchard of Livingston soon began conducting regular services and the Congregational church hospitably shared its facilities. With the encouragement of Rev. Pritchard in 1892, the Episcopal women’s guild began plans to build St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The name was changed in 1895 to St. Mark’s and a subscription paper circulated, raising $900. St. Mark’s cornerstone was laid in the fall of 1895. Rev. Pritchard and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Leigh R. Brewer, Missionary Bishop of the Episcopal District of Montana, Idaho and Utah, conducted the first services in February of 1896. St. John’s Episcopal Church in Butte and individuals in Chicago and Waterton, New York, donated many of the interior furnishings for the $2,215 building. By 1899, the diligent fund-raising efforts of the women’s guild had cleared the debt. The beautiful Gothic Revival style stone building, designed by F. S. Hornbeck and constructed by skilled craftsmen under local builder O. M. Lanphear, reflects the English roots of the Episcopal church. Masterfully cut and fitted native limestone, the characteristic vertical emphasis of the Gothic style and exquisite stained glass make this truly an architectural gem. Historically significant as the town’s oldest standing church, St. Mark’s remains a handsome memorial to the dedicated members of its founding congregation.

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203 West 4th Avenue, Big Timber, Montana ~ Private