First Presbyterian Church, Kalispell
Courthouse Historic District
Reverend George M. Fisher organized Kalispell’s Presbyterian congregation in 1891 with 17 members. Reverend Fisher came to Montana in 1882, preached the first sermon in Flathead County in 1886, and organized six congregations during his career. Under Reverend Fisher, the Presbyterians built Kalispell’s first church in 1892, placing the valley’s first bell in its steeple. Plans to build a larger church were begun in 1904, but they were not realized until 1925. Architect Fred Brinkman designed the present church to double as a community facility. Some 600 individual contributions and many local craftsmen made the Tudor style church a true community project. Water-smoothed river rock, log rafters, and decorative timbers are reminiscent of Glacier National Park’s rustic chalets. The octagonal belfry conveys its religious identity while the original 1892 bell survives, displayed on the church lawn. First services were held in 1926. In 1927, the long retired Reverend Fisher, who according to pioneer Emma Ingalls “married and buried more people than all the other preachers put together,” dedicated this community landmark. It is one of Kalispell’s most enduring treasures.