Filed Under Helena

First Unitarian Church of Helena

Helena Historic District

Outstanding architecture and a long history of community service make this stunning landmark much beloved. It is the only known example of prominent architect C. S. Haire’s work in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Magnificent round arches, a stylistic hallmark, are its most prominent feature. Public-spirited Unitarians believed that churches should serve the community. They planned the building to function as a public auditorium and theater as well as a church. At its dedication in 1901, Reverend Leslie Sprague said, “I do not believe God wants churches that are too holy for usefulness in any cause, even for the entertainment and pastime of His children.” In 1933, the Unitarians donated the church to the city and it became the public library. It has been home to Grandstreet Theatre since 1976. The interior features a Tiffany window, exquisite woodwork, and the handsome original proscenium arch. In 2005, the 1901 blueprints inspired the replacement of the aging utilitarian window above the entry. The new window follows the designer’s original sketch. Today Grandstreet Theatre, vital to the town’s creative spirit, perpetuates the Unitarians’ bequest.

Images

First Unitarian Church of Helena
First Unitarian Church of Helena First Unitarian Church of Helena. Front to side view of the building, facing southeast at the intersection of North Park Avenue and Lawrence Street near the Federal Reserve Bank. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020
First Unitarian Church of Helena
First Unitarian Church of Helena First Unitarian Church of Helena. Front view of the building, facing east on North Park Avenue from the City-County Administrative Building parking lot near the intersection of North Park and Lawrence Street. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020

Location

325 North Park Avenue, Helena, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “First Unitarian Church of Helena,” Historic Montana, accessed July 13, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/707.