St. Peter's Austrian Roman Catholic Church

Goosetown Historic District

Anaconda architect W. W. Hyslop designed St. Peter’s Austrian Roman Catholic Church, constructed in 1898. Its contrasting colors, pointed arches, side buttresses, tall pointed steeple, ornate terra cotta panels, and rose window reflect the High Victorian Gothic style. Built as an alternative to the Irish-dominated St. Paul’s Church, St. Peter’s primarily served Anaconda’s Croatian, Slovenian, and Montenegrin community. For Slavic smelter workers and their families, whose home countries were then part of the Austrian empire, the church helped ease the transition to America. Father John Pirnat, himself from Slovenia, was instrumental in convincing the diocese to construct St. Peter’s. He served as the church’s pastor for over fifty years, raising the funds for the 1902 rear addition as well as for many other Anaconda Catholic institutions. Father Pirnat often preached in Serbo-Croatian, performed traditional Slavic funeral and wedding services, and led the church in celebrating such ethnic holidays as Mesopust (a pre-Lenten carnival). In so doing, he made St. Peter’s a pillar of Anaconda’s Slavic community and an important bridge between the old and new worlds.

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714 Alder Street, Anaconda, Montana ~ Private