The last building to be erected in old Fort Yellowstone, the ecumenical Yellowstone Chapel in Mammoth Hot Springs is 100 years old today.
It’s the only religious structure in Yellowstone National Park proper open to the public, dedicated on June 25, 1913 and ended up being the last building built under government auspices in what was then Fort Yellowstone. Since the opening the chapel has hosted regularly scheduled services as well as special events like weddings and memorial services. Most visitors pass right by it (quite honestly, it’s not open as often as it should be), but it’s been an important space for the greater Yellowstone community for the past century.
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,” [said Yellowstone National Park historian Lee] Whittlesey….
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.
Image by RC Townsend, courtesy of National Park Service.