By Richard I. Gibson
Built: 1881. Restored 1918-21, enlarged 1936.
Faced in Butte granite, this church is the oldest standing church in Butte, predating St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church by one year although the latter is the oldest religious community in town, initiated in 1866 as a mission. St. John’s is closely connected to Copper King W.A. Clark, whose mansion is just a block north. The parish hall and basement gymnasium were added in 1917. For three years after a 1918 fire gutted the interior, services were held in the parish hall, and not until 1931 was the stained-glass window behind the altar 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. The restoration of the window was paid for by Clark’s son William A., Jr., and Jessie’s twin sister, Catherine. Additional expansions have included enlarging the chancel and adding the chapel in 1936. Most of the stained glass in the side windows was manufactured by J & R Lamb Studios, of New York and New Jersey, and includes mining and patriotic motifs in addition to traditional religious imagery.
Reference: Historic stained glass in selected houses of worship, Butte, Montana, by R.I. Gibson and Irene Scheidecker, published by Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization, 2006. Photos by Richard Gibson.