Posted: Jun 24, 2013 1:18 PM by Chet Layman
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS - Yellowstone National Park is not only rich in resources, it is rich in history. Community members and visitors in the Mammoth Hot Springs area recently helped celebrate a little of that history.
The Yellowstone Chapel took two years to build and was dedicated 100 years ago this week.
Back in 1891, Mammoth Hot Springs was called Fort Yellowstone and religious services were less than organized.
"But, we didn't have a chapel, so religious services were held in a soldiers' barracks and later in the canteen building, you know we're just sort of looking for a building type thing," Yellowstone National Park historian Lee Whittlesey explained.
The first judge for Yellowstone, then called commissioner, was John Meldrum. He wanted a little more order.
The church inside Yellowstone National Park is unique. When it was dedicated in 1913, the area was still Fort Yellowstone, and it was the last structure built.
What makes it interesting is, how about this for separation of church and state. The building wasn't paid for by an act of community, it was paid for by an act of Congress.
"They allotted $25,000. The building ended up costing $21,000, a lot of money at that time. It took a couple years to get it built. It was literally the very last building built at Fort Yellowstone, completed in January of 1913 and dedicated June 25, 1913," Whittlesey said.
Sunday services, weddings, funerals, baptisms are all held in this church, which has been fully functioning except for a brief period during World War II.
Charles Hamilton, the founder of the Hamilton stores was married in the church in 1920. It was the second wedding for the chapel. The building is still available for services today.
It's open to all faiths and proudly facing its next 100 years.