First Baptist Church of Montana

Helena Historic District

Helena’s Baptist congregation organized in 1880 under Reverend James T. Mason, who conducted services in the county’s first small courthouse. In September of 1883, the cornerstone was laid for this important early landmark. Building costs totaled $11,000 with an additional $2,500 for an attached parsonage. Reverend Mason preached the first sermon in the new church on April 6, 1884. Among the early members was Territorial Governor Preston Leslie, whose daughter, Emily, served as church organist. The fine Tracker organ, still in use, was given in her memory in 1901. A stained glass window is dedicated to Governor Sam Ford (1941-1949), whose wife, Mary, was a lifetime member of the congregation. The church survived a fire in 1916 and earthquakes in 1935 when the parsonage was reconstructed and the red brick covered in stucco. Despite these changes, this lovely little church retains its charming architectural features and still counts descendants of its founders among the congregation.         



201 8th Avenue, Helena, Montana ~ Private