Preserving Montana's Catholic Heritage : Helena Diocesan Structures and Historic Preservation
Object ID:
The Cathedral of St. Helena

Recognized as Helena's most frequently—mentioned physical landmark, the Cathedral of Saint Helena was built between 1908 and 1924 of tawny—colored Bedford, Indiana limestone, and topped by a steeply—pitched red—tile roof. It is a Gothic—Revival structure and a near replica of the "Votive Church" in Vienna, Austria and was placed on the National Historic Preservation list in 1980.

The F.X. Zettler of Munich stained glass windows total 11,696 square feet of art glass. Fifty—nine of the windows depict a sequence of events from the Old and New Testaments and subsequent church history.

Its matched 230 foot spires make it the tallest structure in Helena, with its prominence enhanced by its location on top of a hill at the head of Lawrence Street. The north tower contains 15 hand—cast bells, made by the McShane Foundry of Baltimore. Twenty—nine life—size statues of saints and other historical figures adorn the west front and the north and south sides.

After the 1935 earthquake the main altar was refurbished. In 1959, as the diocese celebrated its 75th year, bronze grilles and a canopy over the main altar, new chandeliers and earth tones on the walls gave the interior a warm feeling. Additional embellishments were made in 1982 and 2003.

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Cathedral of St. Helena, Helena, MTCathedral of St. Helena, Helena, MT
Cathedral of St. Helena interior 2000Cathedral of St. Helena interior 2000