St. John's Episcopal Church, Butte, Montana
15 N. Idaho, uptown Butte at the corner of Broadway and Idaho
Phone: 406-723-4017 email: StJohnsButte@gmail.com
Services: Sunday 10:45am and Tuesday 12:15pm
Whosoever thou art
leave it not without
one prayer to God for thyself,
for those who
and for those who
Detailed descriptions of the Stained Glass Windows and many of the Memorial Furnishings are also available at this website.
St. John’s Episcopal Church is the oldest standing church in Butte, and one of the oldest in Montana. Ground was broken for the original St. John’s in June of 1881, and the new Missionary Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Leigh Richmond, laid the cornerstone. Faced in Butte granite, St. John's predates St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church by one year. The church is closely connected to Copper King William A. Clark, whose mansion is just a block north. The first service was held on Nov. 13, 1881 with the Rev. C.O. Tillstoon as priest. The first choir was instituted on Easter Sunday, 1901.
In 1917 a parish hall was added, with a gymnasium in the basement. On Ash Wednesday, 1918, disaster struck when a fire completely destroyed the church’s interior. For the next three years until Sept. 18, 1921, all services were held in the parish hall. It was not until 1931 that the stained glass window behind the altar was restored. That window was executed by Pompeo Bertini, stained-glass artist for the Cathedral of Milan, Italy, and is dedicated to Clark’s daughter Jessie, who died three weeks before her third birthday in 1878. William A. Clark and his wife Kate commissioned the original window. The restoration of the window was paid for by Clark’s son William A., Jr. and Jessie’s twin sister, Catherine. This is one of the few surviving Bernini windows, because the Cathedral of Milan was destroyed during WWII. The red color in the glass is from the infusion of gold.
Additional church expansions have included the enlargement of the chancel to 40 ft. and the construction of the chapel, which were accomplished in 1936. In Sept of 1961, the gymnasium space was remodeled to include two floors of classrooms and administrative offices. A kitchen was added between the parish hall and the church. In 1987 a columbarium with 98 vaults was added to the chapel.
This property contributes to the Butte Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a designation of the Department of Interior in cooperation with the Montana Historical Society.
A brass plaque on the wall of the entryway reads: