~ The Mission Grounds ~
The Bitterroot mountains are the backdrop to Historic St. Mary's Mission. The ever-changing view in this peaceful setting affords inspiring photo opportunities and lifetime memories. Visitors are encouraged to stroll the grounds and enjoy a picnic in De Smet park in the shadow of St. Mary's Peak.

The Mission Complex is comprised of

  • St. Mary's Chapel with an attached residence, kitchen and  dining room
  • The dove cote
  • Chief Victor's cabin which is now a museum of Salish artifacts
  • Farther Ravalli's cabin/pharmacy
  • A diorama with statues depicting Chief Big Face, Fr. De Smet and Chief Victor
  • Visitor's Center which contains a museum, research library, art gallery and gift shop
  • A Salish encampment with native plantings
  • Historic replica of the barn and two wheeled ox cart

Tours are offered from April 15 through October 15.  The Visitor's Center remains open through December.
Mission Complex, Cross on a Hill brand at St. Mary's Mission
Stevensville, Montana site of Historic St. Mary's Mission
Where Montana Began
Email: stmary@cybernet1.com
St. Mary’s Mission was founded in 1841 by Fr. Pierre DeSmet, S. J. This is the fourth Chapel built in this area for the Salish people. The first part was built in 1866. With the arrival of the settlers it became too small and In 1879 it was enlarged to the East The bell came from Cincinnati, Ohio.The Diorama was dedicated in 2005 to replace the previous element-worn carvings.  Depicted left to right are Chief Big Face, Fr. DeSmet and Chief Victor.Salish encampment in DeSmet Park.Apple orchard in DeSmet ParkFr. Ravalli was doctor and pharmacist to both the Natives and Settlers. The study or living area also served as an infirmary where he treated his patients. His sleeping quarters were upstairs. 
Fr. Ravalli dispensed medicine to settlers and natives from the 'ride up, walk up' window The visitor's center houses a museum, research library and gift shop as well as an extensive art collection.East view of the Chapel, with attached study, dining room and kitchen.The dove cote is a replica of the one originally built by Fr. Ravalli. He raised chickens for their eggs in the lower part of the building and pigeons for meat in the upper section  The original weathervane he crafted from red and green coffee cans. 
Chief Victor's cabin, now a Salish museum. The cabin was built by John Owen and Fr. Ravalli. Replica of  two-wheeled ox cart and barnThe large stone marker was placed by the Salish people on the 100th anniversary of their departure from the valley. It honors Salish buried on Mission grounds, as well as those buried in the surrounding mountains. Each year the Salish return to honor their ancestors.
Inset memorial  commemoration by Salish Cultural Committee.Monument at the gravesite of Fr. Ravalli was purchased by a collective effort of the people of Montana to honor his memory.The leaning apple tree was planted in 1869 and is all that remains of Fr. Ravalli’s garden. The tree is believed to be the oldest apple tree in the valley.
Click any photo to enlarge and view album
Fr. Ravalli's biography
Learn more about Fr. Ravalli and his contributions to what became the State of Montana.
"Good Samaritin of the Northwest", the biography of Fr. Ravalli, was written by local author and historian Lucylle Evans.
Last Update: 8/24/2016
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Mission Complex Information

  • Tour info
  • Attractions at the Mission
  • Museum and Gift Shop hours
P.O. Box 211
315 Charlo Street
Stevensville, MT 59870