Preserving Montana's Catholic Heritage : Helena Diocesan Structures and Historic Preservation
Object ID:
2013.003.014
Description:
St. Peter's Catholic Church, Rectory and Convent were placed on the Historic Preservation register in 1996.

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church at 401 Alder, designed by renowned Anaconda Architect W.W. Hyslop, is the most ornate building in the Goosetown Historic District. St. Peter's was completed during the fall and winter of 1898, and was dedicated on Christmas Day with Father John Pirnat serving as first pastor. In May 1901 a new bell was dedicated in the church. It weighed 1500 pounds, was composed of bronze and silver and cost $500—$600 to cast it in Baltimore and ship it to Anaconda.

The old shack of a rectory became inadequate and in 1904 a rectory was built next door at 401 Alder. This red brick two—story dwelling features a granite foundation. Its west facade windows are inset, and the original porch features rectangular wood columns with flutes.

The colonial revival—styled, brick—front convent at 709 East Third, designed by architect Fred Willson, was built for the Dominican Sisters of St. Peter's School during the summer of 1922. The original convent at 400 Alder became too small for the 19 Sisters, thus the new construction. The two—story dwelling specified a chapel, community and music rooms, reception room, kitchen and dining room on the first floor, with personal quarter located in the upper level.

These structures are particularly significant because of their association with Rev. John B. Pirnat. Father Pirnat was born near Lublijana, Yugoslavia in November 1872, the oldest of ten children. He was educated in Yugoslavia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1890 to complete his studies at St. Paul's Seminary in Minnesota. Bishop Brondel ordained him in Helena in 1895, assigned him as chaplain at St. Ann's Hospital in Anaconda. He is credited with raising the funds to build St. Peter's church , the rectory, the school (1907), and the convent. He served as pastor for 50 years until his retirement in 1950.
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Sst. Peter's Church, Anaconda, MTSst. Peter's Church, Anaconda, MT
St. Peter's Convent, AnacondaSt. Peter's Convent, Anaconda