Sunday, September 11, 2016
Historic St. Mary’s Mission
St. Mary’s Mission and the town of Stevensville could be considered the founding site of Montana because this is the first place permanently inhabited by non-natives. In 1841 Father Pierre DeSmit, a Jesuit priest, came from St Louis to establish a mission for the Salish and the Nez Perce.
Father Ravelli was assigned to the mission in 1845. He stayed at St. Mary’s for most of his life and is responsible for many of the buildings, furnishings and art work. He also designed the Sacred Heart Church in Cataldo, Idaho.
The site consists of the mission church; a gift shop and museum building; Father Ravelli’s living and working quarters; a museum with Salish history displays and artifacts; and several outbuildings.
The museum and gift shop are accessible. The rest of the site is shown by guided tour only. The church is accessible but the door opens outward and there isn’t a landing on the ramp so entering a little awkward. The grassy grounds are uneven and lumpy. The other buildings all have one or two steps at the entrances and no ramps.
The parking area is large enough for any RV.
Mission 46.51013, -114.0967