A Brief History of the Butte First Presbyterian Church
Throughout 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 been 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.
|Rev. J. R. Russel, 1878—1884
Rev. F. M. Flint, 1884—1885
Rev. Dr. D. J. McMillan, 1886
Rev. Lyman E. Hanna, 1887
Rev. L. M. Schofield, 1887
Rev. Dr. E. J. Groeneveld, 1888—1938
Rev. Floyd Emerson Logee, 1939—1949
Rev. William R. Lindsay, 1950—1958
|Rev. Lewis S. Abbott (Associate), 1955—1956
Rev. Elbert G. Harlow, 1959—1964
Rev. William D. Gildehaus(Associate), 1962—1964
Rev. Thomas S. Smatla, 1965—1980
Rev. Wayne A Fisher, 1980—1998
Rev. Gregory L. Carter (Associate), 1987—1989
Rev. Cynthia S. Carter (Associate), 1987—1989
Rev. Dr. Harlan L. (Lanny) Rounds, 2000 to Present