First Congregational United Church of Christ
Constructed in 1949, First Congregational United Church of Christ is a historic church in Belle Fourche. It is significant for being one of the best examples of Tudor Revival architecture in the state. Still a vibrant congregation today, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.
Backstory and Context
Congregationalists (and a number of other Christian denominations) began to settle South Dakota in the 1850s and 1860s. The first known missionary to visit the territory (it became a state in 1889) was Steven Riggs, who came in 1839. Congregationalists established the first church in the territory in 1868 in Yankton. Gradually, congregationalism spread to the western part of the territory, especially after gold was found in the Black Hills in 1876. At the the time, the Black Hills was officially part of Sioux territory but miners and settlers disregarded this and the federal government either ignored or was unable to stop the encroachment. Congregationalists held their service in Belle Fourche in 1891 on the railroad station platform. That same year, First Congregationalist was organized and built a small church building the next year. In late 1941, the congregation sold this building and met temporarily in another location while it built the current building. World War II slowed construction work considerably and the church was not finished until 1949. An addition was built in 1965. The congregation has another church in St. Onge called the United Church of Christ.
Nelson, C.B. "First Congregational United Church of Christ." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/13000571.pdf.
Jon Roanhaus, via Wikimedia Commons