Tuesday, April 23, 2013

First Baptist Church

Baptist Church (foreground); Presbyterian Church in left background.

201 West Broadway
Built: 1907
Architect: Charles Passmore & Co.

In 1882, the Baptists established their first church in Butte, a frame structure reportedly moved into Butte from Rochester, a mining camp on the southern flank of the Highland Mountains northwest of Twin Bridges. It stood on the site of the present church. By 1890, membership numbered 65 and steadily grew until, at 450 members in 1905, new quarters were imperative. The following year marked the beginning of an unprecedented commercial building boom, and the Butte Miner reported on June 17, 1906, that the week would “…witness the beginning of several splendid structures not exactly in the business heart of the city.”

Nearing completion, Dec. 1907
One of these new buildings was the impressive First Baptist Church, designed and built by Charles Passmore & Company at a cost of $25,000 and dedicated April 12, 1908. Triple-arched windows with beautiful stained glass highlight the main tower, whose pyramidal roof dignifies the neighborhood. Comparison of this church and the nearby Mountain View Methodist Church reveals distinct similarities, but window placement and architectural detailing make each unique.

Ford Brothers Glass Co. of Minneapolis fabricated the large round stained glass window on the east side, an example of trace and matte techniques typical of the Munich School of stained glass. Ovals in the south window are opalescent glass.

Modified from historic plaque by Montana Historical Society; additional resource: First Baptist Church, by Richard Gibson, in Historic Stained Glass in selected houses of worship, Butte, Montana, published by Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization, 2006; Butte Miner, Dec. 22, 1907 (historic photo). Modern photo by Richard Gibson.

No comments:

Post a Comment