A Brief History of the Butte First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church, circa 1897Throughout its 140 year history, Butte First Presbyterian Church has had approximately 2,680 men, women and young people as members.

The history of Butte’s First Presbyterian Church extends back to 1876 when Rev. James Russell from Deer Lodge first visited Butte by horse and buggy. Thirteen members organized the church with Rev. Russell as pastor on May 12, 1878. Early services were held in a log schoolhouse, Loeber’s Hall, the Mountain View Methodist Church, and the Good Templar’s Hall.

In 1880, ground was broken for a church at Broadway and Idaho and the main assembly hall was completed in 1881. Rev. Russell retired in 1884. In 1896, the cornerstone of a larger church was laid at Broadway and Idaho and it was completed in 1897.

In 1925 the church experienced a fire and its members were invited to meet and hold services over the next six months in the basement of the Jewish Synagogue while their building was restored.

The 1897 building was used for 60 years until a new church at Excelsior and Platinum streets was dedicated in 1957. Some stained glass windows and the large pipe organ that was originally purchased in 1896 were moved to the new location and are still in use today.

Throughout Butte’s history there were three other Presbyterian churches, one of which was the Welsh Presbyterian Church which existed from about 1902 to 1946. Stained glass windows from that church were also incorporated into the new church at Excelsior and Platinum. Today the church still meets at the Platinum and Excelsior location which has undergone numerous improvements over the years.

Music has always been an important part of the worship services with the Chancel Choir starting in 1879 and one or sometimes two bell choirs since the 1970s. Since its inception, educational and youth programs have Boyscouts 1940been a focus. The church sponsored Butte’s first Boy Scout troop, Troop No. 1, which existed from 1910 to 1914 but was disbanded during World War I. Troop No. 15 currently meets at the church; it has been sponsored by the church since 1926.

The Ladies Aid Society, formed in 1897, was the church’s first women’s group. Now called Presbyterian Women, the group has supported many local causes such as providing needy families with boxes of food and firewood during the Depression, hosting parties at Montana State Hospital at Warm Springs for over 20 years, and recently has also supported charities such as Safe Space and Intermountain Children’s Home.

More information about the New Church:  in the 1950’s under the ministry of Pastor William Lindsay, First Presbyterian Church of  Butte  moved forward with plans to purchase property and build a new church building at the corner of Platinum and Excelsior.  Our new building was begun with the ground-breaking in 1953 and completed by 1957.  It was constructed in stages.  The first stage was the Christian Education wing with the Gymnasium (Fellowship Hall) above.  When it was completed the services of worship were move and conducted in the Fellowship Hall until the completion of stage two: the sanctuary, parlor and office areas.

Pastors of First Presbyterian Church Across 140 years

Rev. J. R. Russel, 18781884

Rev. F. M. Flint, 18841885

Rev. Dr. D. J. McMillan, 1886

Rev. Lyman E. Hanna, 1887

Rev. L. M. Schofield, 1887

Rev. Dr. E. J. Groeneveld, 18881938

Rev. Floyd Emerson Logee, 19391949

Rev. William R. Lindsay, 19501958

Rev. Lewis S. Abbott (Associate), 19551956

Rev. Elbert G. Harlow, 19591964

Rev. William D. Gildehaus(Associate), 19621964

Rev. Thomas S. Smatla, 19651980

Rev. Wayne A Fisher, 19801998

Rev. Gregory L. Carter (Associate), 19871989

Rev. Cynthia S. Carter (Associate), 19871989

Rev. Dr. Harlan L. (Lanny) Rounds, 2000 to Present


called to follow; sent to serve