46°35'24.98"N 112° 2'2.03"W


Cathedral of Saint Helena, 1920s


THE RAY AND PHIL JEZICK COLLECTION, COURTESY OF CHUCK JEZICK
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

The beautiful Cathedral of St. Helena was begun in 1908, and consecrated in 1924.

 

Cathedral Funded by Mining Magnate Thomas Cruse


Local mining magnate Thomas Cruse (1836 - 1914) provided much of the funding to build the magnificent Cathedral. He did not live to see its completion; his funeral was held in the unfinished building.

In April of 1908 bids were let, and the Columbia Construction Company of New York was awarded the contract for both the Cathedral and the adjacent St. Helena School.

Some published accounts say that the Cathedral is modeled after the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, but actually architect A. O. Von Herbulis modeled the Cathedral of St. Helena after the Votivkirche in Vienna, Austria, which was under construction when he was a student in that city...

 

Modeled after the Votivkirche, Vienna




Circa 1915 postcard image featuring the original architect's drawing



COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

An early postcard image of the Cathedral, looking north. Like many other postcards of the 1915 era, this one is a collage of manipulated stock and real images. Joe Munzenrider, Professor of Fine Arts and Music at Carroll College in Helena, shares some interesting information about this image...


"This image was the original architect's drawing of the Cathedral (the
original drawing is framed and hanging on the wall in the reception area
of the Cathedral Office).

Architect A. O. Von Herbulis originally proposed a Byzantine/Romanesque architecture for the building, but it was rejected (the drawing has never been found). The original Gothic drawing was submitted. It was based on the mid-19th century Votivkirche in Vienna (under construction when Von Herbulis was a student in Vienna). The Votivekirche is still in existence.


VOTIVEKIRCHE, VIENNA

Bishop Carroll then decided that he wanted also to build a school, so the
size of the Cathedral was reduced by 1/3 and redesigned, so that there
would be funds to construct the Grade School.

The source of this information is "The Cathedral of Saint Helena" by
Rt. Rev. Victor Day, V.G. The Standard Publishing Company, Helena, MT 1938. Long out of print, this book is held in the Carroll Library. One
of the docent guides at the Cathedral is in the process of scanning a copy of the book to place online."

Many thanks to Professor Munzenrider for this information.

 

An early St. Helena Cathedral postcard which actually shows the Votivkirche in Vienna


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

Postcard publishers sometimes played fast and loose with images.

 

Bishop John P. Carroll Laying the Cornerstone, October 4 1908


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

 

Souvenir Badge

 

Cathedral of St. Helena under construction, ca. 1911


COURTESY OF WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON

 

Cathedral of St. Helena under construction, ca. 1912


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

By July of 1913, the exterior of the building was completed, the spires had been erected and only the tuck-and-pointing of the walls remained to be done.

An "interior club" was formed, and plans included the plastering, a central heating plant, a lighting system, floor, pews, altars and doors. The main organ, the 15 chimes in the north tower, and the stained glass windows completed the works done in the Cathedral in the early years.

The first mass was celebrated in the Cathedral on Christmas Day, 1914. The Cathedral was formally consecrated on June 24, 1924.

 

1973 Video Clip About the Cathedral

 
COURTESY OF KITTY ANN QUIGLEY TAALER

A short video clip about the Cathedral, from the 1973 promotional film, "Helena-City of Gold". produced by the Chamber of Commerce. Contrary to what the narrator says, the Cathedral was patterned after the Votivkirche in Vienna, Austria, not the "Cathedral of Cologne, Germany".

 


A 1909 souvenir plate manufactured by New York's Buffalo Pottery

 

 

• • • V I D E O • • •

On November 2, 1925, Bishop John Patrick Carroll, the second Bishop of Helena, and founder of Mount St. Charles College (later Carroll College), died in Switzerland. His body was returned to the United States, where a mass was said for him at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City before continuing on to Helena for burial.

Click the Pathe News title above to watch a video of Carroll's funeral processions in both cities.

COURTESY OF THE DIOCESE OF HELENA

 

Interior of the Cathedral When New


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

The original interior was stark compared to today's rich and colorful decoration.

The original interior was stark compared to today's rich and colorful decoration. The woodwork was originally strained dark brown; during the extensive 1956-59 renovation and redecoration, it was bleached and stained a light "driftwood" color.



The Original Altar


COURTESY OF TOM MULVANEY • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW



Earthquake Damage, 1935

Marble Crucifix Toppled and Shattered by the Quake
s

 

 

Repairing Earthquake Damage, October 2 1936


COURTESY OF KATHRYN FEHLIGCLICK ON IMAGE FOR BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW


 

 

1940s Aerial View Postcard

A 1940s aerial view of the Cathedral grounds. On the left is the St. Helena Grade School, also designed by Von Herbulis. At the upper-right is Synagogue Emanu El.

 


Major Renovation & Decoration, 1956-59


COURTESY OF WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW




 





 

Floodlights Were Added to the Cathedral in the 1970s

 

Repairing the Cathedral bells, 2007

Clicking on the image above will link to a short video produced by the Helena Independent Record, showing some of the 2007 repair work done on the bells and their timber supports.



Repairing the St. Helena Cathedral Organ

 
Courtesy of the Independent Record




Old Tunnel Under Ninth Avenue

 
Courtesy of the Independent Record



Casino-Style Electronic Sign Added in 2010


PHOTO BY KENNON BAIRD

In 2010, the Diocese erected this flashing Yesco electronic sign near the northwest corner of the Cathedral. Judging from numerous opinions expressed in online discussions about the sign, many Helenans think it is in poor taste.