Filed Under Danvers

St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church

Built in 1916 and named for the patron saint of Czechoslovakia, St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church is a testament to the tightly knit community of Czech homesteaders who settled in Danvers and the surrounding area. The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad platted Danvers during construction of its line between 1912 and 1914. The completed railroad and the promise of 320 acres of free land under the Enlarged Homestead Act lured prospective farmers, and the population of Fergus County expanded rapidly. Many new settlers arrived from Central and Southern Europe, and by 1920 roughly half of the residents in the Danvers area were Czech and most engaged in farming. By 1915, Danvers bustled with a combination hardware store and dance hall, saloon, hotel and restaurant, barber shop, cobbler, blacksmith, post office, butcher, livery stable, lumberyard, and grain elevator. In 1915, Catholic residents raised $2,650 from community members to build a church. Carpenter Frank Snider oversaw construction, and the congregation pitched in to excavate the basement and complete the interior. Through its long history, St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church was the heart of Danvers, serving as the religious and social center of the community for over eighty years. In 2010, the Friends of St. Wenceslaus—following in the footsteps of their Czech ancestors—raised funds from the local community and restored the church for use as an events center. Though only a few residents and buildings remain in Danvers, St. Wenceslaus church still stands as a beacon on the prairie, representing hard work, commitment, and community.

Images


St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church
View looking northwest at church facade and side elevation after new paint Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office photos Creator: Kate Hampton, photographer Date: ca. 2012
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church View of facade Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form for St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. Creator: unknown photographer Date: ca. 1916
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church View of churchgoers entering or exiting St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church Source: unknown photographer Date: National Register of Historic Places nomination form for St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church.
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Danvers, MT View of facade before restoration Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office photos Creator: Kate Hampton, photographer Date: 2007
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church View looking northeast at church as reroofing progresses on the steeple. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office photos Creator: Kate Hampton, photographer Date: ca. 2011
Untitled
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church View looking southwest at church facade Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office photos Creator: Kate Hampton, photographer Date: June 2014

Location

7724 Danvers Road, Danvers, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church,” Historic Montana, accessed December 1, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2819.