Methodist Church of Alberton
Nestled in the forested mountains of the Clark Fork River valley, this early-twentieth-century church recalls the era when prosperity rode the rails of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company. As the tracks of the “Milwaukee Road” were the lifeblood of the town’s economy, this simple church served spiritual needs. The Methodist congregation came together circa 1912 to construct the simple one-story gable-fronted building. It was built on a rectilinear plan and typifies early churches that often doubled as meeting halls in rural western communities. The square belfry, sided with wood shingles and louvered vents, perches off-center atop the roof. Placement of the bell tower to the side was a common signal of denominational affiliation; bell towers on Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, and Congregational churches were most often centered on the roof. Beveled clapboard siding and windows with orange translucent glass add to its quaint turn-of-the-century charm. The tenacious little town withstood electrification of the Milwaukee Road in 1917 and consequent loss of its division point status, but the townsite never progressed beyond “first phase” frame building. That is why the few buildings that remain from the early period are especially precious. This is one of two churches established in Alberton during the town’s prosperity, and the Methodist congregation continues to hold its services here.