Filed Under Helena

House of the Good Shepherd Historic District

On a cold day in February, 1889, a small colony of Sisters of the Good Shepherd arrived in Helena from St. Paul, Minnesota. They came, at the invitation of Bishop John B. Brondel, to establish a safe, non-denominational haven for troubled girls and young women. Five nuns and a young girl named Veronica, their first charge, settled into the Second Empire style convent at the corner of Hoback and Ninth. St. Helena’s Catholic Church across Hoback Street was built soon after and construction of the frame dormitory followed in 1890. The sisters’ Gothic Revival style chapel was built to adjoin the convent in 1895. Four separate two-story additions enlarged the dormitory which also served as a school. By 1900, nine sisters cared for 27 residents between the ages of 8 and 36. In the dormitory basement, a state-of-the-art commercial laundry, added in 1904, provided job training and income for the home. The sisters moved to a larger facility on the west edge of town in 1909. Their convent here was divided into apartments and the dormitory became a furniture warehouse. When the west side home closed in 1967, the sisters had cared for more than 2,700 girls and young women during their 78 years in Helena. In 1990, a new owner painstakingly rehabilitated the Hoback Street dormitory and converted it to an artist’s studio. Today only the church retains its original purpose, but the historic appearance of this landmark complex is little changed.

Images

House of the Good Shepherd Historic District
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District House of the Good Shepherd Historic District. View of the Convent and Chapel, facing west on North Hoback Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: Feb. 1993
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District House of the Good Shepherd Historic District. Rear to side view of the chapel, facing southeast on 9th Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: Feb. 1993
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District House of the Good Shepherd Historic District. Front view of the Dormitory house, facing west on North Hoback Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: Feb. 1993
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District House of the Good Shepherd Historic District. Front to side view of the Dormitory house and garage, facing southwest on North Hoback Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: Feb. 1993
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District
House of the Good Shepherd Historic District Front to side view of the church building, facing southeast on North Hoback Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Chere Jiusto Date: Feb. 1993
House of the Good Shepherd Church, Helena, MT.
House of the Good Shepherd Church, Helena, MT. View of facade. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Joe Furshong, photographer Date: May 2019

Location

Area surrounding Junction of 9th Avenue and North Hoback Street, Helena, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “House of the Good Shepherd Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed March 5, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/792.