Filed Under Willow Creek

Stateler Memorial Methodist Church

Pioneering Southern Methodist minister Learner Blackman Stateler preached his first sermon in Willow Creek on Christmas Day 1864, in a cabin built by a local farmer. Like many of the area's early residents, Stateler was a Southern sympathizer from Missouri, whose family fled Civil War violence by moving west. He found a welcoming congregation in Willow Creek, where he organized Montana Territory's first Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1873 the congregation constructed a wood-frame chapel a mile from the present-day church location. In 1908, a town site company associated with the Milwaukee railroad platted the new town of Willow Creek. By 1910, two railroads served the community, which soon boasted three general stores, a bank, a blacksmith shop, and two grain elevators. In 1913, congregants decided to move their church to the center of the promising young town. Members of the Ladies Aid raised much of the money needed to construct the new church building, which the congregation named for its pioneering minister. Completed in 1915, the Stateler Memorial Methodist Church is an intriguing mix of old and new. Gothic-arched windows and a Norman tower pay homage to an ancient past while the roof's open eaves and exposed rafter tails reflect early twentieth-century taste. Equally modern is the concrete block used in construction. The Trident Cement Company in nearby Three Forks assured a ready supply of the material, which came into widespread use between 1905 and 1930. Easier to lay than brick, the durable material fulfilled its promise as an affordable and attractive substitute for stone.

Images

Stateler Memorial Methodist Church
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church Stateler Memorial Methodist Church. Front view of the building, facing west on Main Street near the intersection of 3rd Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: May 2008
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church Stateler Memorial Methodist Church. Front to side view of the building, facing west to southwest from the corner of Main Street and 3rd Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: May 2008
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church Stateler Memorial Methodist Church. Side view of the church, facing southwest from the northwest corner of the 3rd and Main Street intersection. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: May 2008
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church Stateler Memorial Methodist Church. Side to rear view of the building, facing south to southeast from 3rd Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: May 2008
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church Stateler Memorial Methodist Church. Side view of the building, facing north from the tree line near the south elevation of the church with a view of the access ramp and window designs. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: May 2008
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church
Stateler Memorial Methodist Church Stateler Memorial Methodist Church. Front to side view of the building, facing west to northwest on Main Street near 3rd Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: May 2008

Location

303 Main Street, Willow Creek, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Stateler Memorial Methodist Church,” Historic Montana, accessed April 14, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/613.