Filed Under Helena

St. John's Hospital Laundry

Helena South-Central Historic District

Fathers Kuppens and D’Aste of the Society of Jesuits built Helena’s first Catholic church here in 1866, predicting that “this rocky hill will blossom like a garden.” They and the Sisters of Charity, who arrived from Kansas in 1869, transformed the barren hilltop, planting seeds that quickly took root on Catholic Hill. By the 1880s a hospital, cathedral, orphanage, mental asylum, boys’ school, bishop’s residence, and various outbuildings covered the hilltop. St. Vincent’s Academy for Girls, widely renowned for its educational excellence, sprawled across Ewing Street. Here, behind the original St. John’s Hospital, a laundry facility serving Catholic Hill was located in the 1870s. That one-story frame building was rebuilt in brick after 1892 to include a second floor with classrooms and a study that later served nurses at St. John’s. In 1935, earthquakes destroyed all but two Catholic Hill buildings. St. John’s was rebuilt on the site of St. Vincent’s in 1939, but this building and Immaculata Hall are the only survivors of the early institutions that once “bloomed” on Catholic Hill.


32 South Ewing Street, Helena, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “St. John's Hospital Laundry,” Historic Montana, accessed April 21, 2024,