Historic Church

A Short History of the Lakeside Community Chapel

By Sylvia Murphy

The first seed for this historic Montana church in Lakeside was planted when J.H. Noble and Emma Anderson started a Sunday school in the Little Red School House. This was 1905. When a new school was opened in 1907, the growing Sunday school moved there with as many as 75 children and adults attending. Much credit is given to the homesteader mothers – including Mrs. Noble, Emma Anderson, Mrs. Savage, Mrs. Parrick and Mrs. Neigh. Of course, there were many other dedicated Christrians who persevered, but their names have been forgotten.

Stella Parrick, one of the early Sunday school teachers, was an ardent church worker and persisted in her efforts to expand the religous life in Lakeside. She arranged for Reverand Evans of the Baptist Church to preach occasionally and a Mr. Snow came from Rollins when he could make it. Mr. Williams, a Methodist minister, preached regularly as they met at the School House. In 1940, Emily Trealor, an ordained Methodist minister, came to the Chapel, serving for ten years when she retired because of illness.

Historic Church, Lakeside Community Chapel

After many years meeting in the school, it became evident the community was ready for its own church. On May 27, 1947 a public meeting was planned by those desiring a church building. A dinner was served, a board of directors was set up to find a site and make plans for a building, which were approved by Board of Missions in Philadelphia.

The organization of the church took place in October of 1947 with 24 charter members. Mrs. Trealor was to continue as pastor. The foundation was laid in July of 1948, and the first service was held on Easter Sunday 1950. Volunteers did all the work and the shell of the building was all there was. The interior walls had not been put in and there was only a sub-floor. Chairs were brought in from homes and benches were planks resting on nail kegs.

It was a day of great rejoicing with Jane Woodworth furnishing the music on an old pump organ. Torrance Harvey was welcome as the new pastor and delivered the Easter message. New members were received. There was a baptism, special music by Ardith Granger Clare, and a reception.

Eight years later it was evident the small church needed to be larger. Bill Irwin of Montana Saw and Service donated the 2×4’s from which the newly remodeled and enlarged church was to be laminated. The building was extended to the north and west, adding a rest room, kitchen, storage room and fellowship.

Again, in the 1970’s, the church was enlarged. More property was acquired to the west and Bruce Person, a Kalispell architect, was hired. There was a vigorous fund drive and a substantial gift from boat builder, Cap Swanson’s estate, enabled the group to secure a loan of $32,000 at 8 1/2% interest. An energetic and generous congregation made it possible to pay all the bills and retire the mortgage in a very short time.

Torrance Harvey continued as a dedicated pastor until his retirement in 1998. Terry Dunn served with his wife Lila until July 1, 2000 when he retired. John Ulrich served with his wife Rita until his retirement, June 24, 2008. Pastor Dennis Reese came to the Chapel, July 1, 2007 with his beloved dog, Bart.

Rev. Laura L. Schultz came to the Chapel in late July 2019, with “Flash” the 13 pound West Highland White Terrier, and “Lady Abigail – ‘Abby'”, 55 pound honey-colored Golden Retriever.  She brought with her, enthusiastic ideas for a World Communion Day celebration and a full cast Christmas Pageant.  Her motto:  “The Joy of the LORD is your Strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10