The Sisters of the Order of St. Ursula came to Montana in 1884 to establish schools for Indians. When the homestead movement created a need for more urban educational facilities, the Great Falls Townsite Company offered the sisters any two city blocks. This site overlooking the city was chosen for its tranquility, removed from the bustle of the city’s center. In 1912, the Ursuline Academy opened its doors to day and boarding students of all denominations. The academy, a detached gymnasium, two shrines, and the grounds comprise the campus. Iconography by Sister Raphael Schweda graces the academy’s interior. Great Falls architect George Shanley chose the Collegiate Gothic style to reflect the academy’s commitment to learning and its ecclesiastical associations. But the building also represents the culmination of the Ursulines’ mission to bring education and culture to Montana’s youth. From a log cabin to this grand and noble institution of learning, the “lady black robes” have touched the lives of thousands of Montanans. The sisters continued their mission teaching at the academy until it became the Ursuline Centre in 1971. The sisters who reside within its lofty halls continue to serve in the community and graciously open their home to ecumenical activities.

Images

Ursuline Academy, Great Falls, MT
Ursuline Academy, Great Falls, MT View of the Ursuline Academy, Great Falls, Montana. Source: 947-980, Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT Creator: Unknown photographer Date: ca. 1915
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. Copy of the original Architects perspective drawing. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. West elevation of the Northwest corner. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. West elevation. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. Main entrance to the building, looking north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. South end of the Center Wing. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. South elevation. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. North elevation at the Northeast corner of the building. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. East elevation of the building. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. South elevation of the building. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991
Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy Ursuline Academy. West elevation of the main entry. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Kenneth Sievert Date: June 1991

Location

2300 Central Avenue, Great Falls, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Ursuline Academy,” Historic Montana, accessed July 13, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/218.