St. Ann's Cathedral

Shortly after Pope Pius X established the Diocese of Great Falls in 1904, Great Falls’ first bishop, Matthias Lenihan, hired Montana architect John Hackett Kent to design a cathedral equal to those in Europe. Kent, who helped design the Montana state capitol, looked to thirteenth-century England for inspiration. St. Ann’s shares all the features of the Gothic Revival style: an “exaggerated verticality” that makes the building itself look as if it were reaching toward heaven, a cruciform plan, pointed arches, window tracery, and a ribbed interior vault. According to the Great Falls Tribune, its red and cream sandstone was quarried locally, with “each block … cut for a particular place in the structure and … marked [to] … designate it for that one particular place.” Bitterroot Valley sculptor W. R. Gifford carved the two-ton exterior figure of Christ, which graces the top of the gable end arch. Construction of the cathedral, which seats five hundred people, cost approximately $100,000. Money for the project came from the four hundred parishioners living in Great Falls in 1906. 


St. Ann's

St. Ann's

1. St. Ann's 2. Great Falls, MT. 3/4 Kittredge 3/90 5. Helena, MT. 6. Facing east #9 Roll 2/25 (verso) b&w print Digitized image cropped for clarity | Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana | Creator: Kittredge View File Details Page

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Street Address:

715 Third Avenue North, Great Falls, Montana [map]

Cite this Page:

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “St. Ann's Cathedral ,” Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places, accessed July 24, 2017,

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