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St. Mark's Episcopal Chapel 100 years ago

By Keith J. Doll

Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Commission

A July 4, 1902, document in the Hill County Clerk and Recorder's Office reads that the trustees of the Epsicopalian Diocese of Montana bought two lots here in Havre to build a church.

Friday evening, Sept. 10, 1909, the ground was broken on the lots to build a church. As stated in the Plaindealer, the local paper, on Sept. 11, 1909, the basement of the building was to be a chapel, lecture and Sunday school room while they worked on building the upper and main part of the church.

After the Havre city band played, the pastor of the Episcopal congregation, the Rev. Leonard Jacob Christler spoke, then removed the first shovel full of dirt. He was followed by the ladies of the St. Mark's Guild, other parochial organizations, the mayor, the clergy of Havre, members of the press and the presidents of the fraternal societies of Havre.

The Rev. Christler was seen many times walking the streets of Havre with a well-worn subscription book to write in the donations of either money or to work on the church building.

When the basement chapel of the new building was completed, the services were held there. The last service was held in the Chestnut Hall on May 2, 1915. The Chestnut Hall was located on the northwest corner of 3rd Avenue and 2nd Street, today The Computer Center building. It also shows in the 1913 and 1914 Polk Directory services were held in the Chestnut Hall and in the 1915 and 1916 Polk Directory it shows the services being held at St. Mark's Episcopal Chapel.

Bishop Faber along with the Rev. Christler held service together in the chapel on Tuesday, May 25, 1915.

On June 17, 1917, was the benediction of St. Mark's and the start of the diocesan convention. It was at that time that St. Mark's Episcopal Mission became St. Mark's Episcopal Parish, as stated in the Havre Daily Promoter, another local paper, on June 20, 1917.

Palm Sunday, April 9, 1922, and through Holy Week, the services were held in the basement chapel of St. Mark's. On Easter Sunday, April 16, 1922, the service was held in the newly completed church building

Today, the services are held at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with coffee, and fellowship following. Eucharist is once a month at 2 p.m. on Sunday. People can call 265-2161 for more information

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of services being held at St. Mark's. There will be a celebration this summer. Happy Birthday St. Mark's.

Stories about the construction of St. Mark's Episcopal Church can be read in upcoming editions of the Havre Daily News.


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